Risk Factors of Problem Gaming and Gambling in US Emerging Adult Non-Students: The Role of Loot Boxes, Microtransactions, and Risk-Taking

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Issues in Mental Health Nursing

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Video gaming and gambling have increasingly converged with one another (e.g., social casino games). For emerging adults (18–25 years old), who are already at an elevated risk for addictive disorders, this overlap in these activities may increase the likelihood of problematic involvement. At the moment, Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is being considered as a future medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the potential comorbidity between IGD and gambling disorder (GD) in emerging adults, as well as explore if problematic engagement in gaming and gambling may be explained by recent trends in video game microtransactions (e.g., loot boxes) and risk-taking behaviors. An online survey was completed by 300 emerging adult non-students (Mage = 22.79, 49% male) from across the United States. The results revealed that compared to non-gamers, problematic gamers were 6.45 times more likely to problem gamble and compared to non-gamblers, problem gamblers were 5.62 times more likely to problem game. Microtransactions were the major mechanism for the relationship between IGD and GD. Participants with higher severity levels of either disorder demonstrated a greater likelihood of purchasing microtransactions, in addition to displaying significantly less aversion towards several domains of risk-taking. These findings suggest that emerging adults with probable IGD or GD may share common risk factors and patterns of behavior that transdiagnostic treatment approaches may better serve than syndrome-specific models.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences



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