Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt

Second Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Third Committee Member

Shane Kraus

Fourth Committee Member

Tanachai Mark Padoongpatt

Number of Pages



Few studies have examined the financial motives and risks involved in modern video games, as well as the psychosocial factors contributing to this type of gaming involvement. Previous research on gambling has shown financial motives alone to be a major risk factor for the development of gambling disorder, with higher levels of personal relative deprivation (PRD) identified as a main contributor to this relationship. Therefore, the present study investigated whether this association applied to US adult video gamers, and if it would predict their problematic gaming behaviors. We hypothesized PRD and gaming disorder severity would have a positive association, with financial gaming motives mediating this relationship. Additionally, we expected when perceived upward mobility decreased, the connection between PRD and financial gaming motives would strengthen. To test this, we used moderated mediation analysis to examine these associations in 797 college students (Study 1) and 179 adult gamers over 25 years old (Study 2). For college students, more PRD was positively related to gaming disorder severity, with this relationship mediated by financial gaming motives. In older adults, however, coping gaming motives appeared as the mechanism for the positive association between PRD and gaming disorder severity. In both samples, perceived upward mobility moderated the effect of PRD on one’s financial or coping gaming motives. Overall, our results suggest financial motives and risks related to video games are particularly relevant to young adults, and PRD can elevate a player’s vulnerability for disordered gaming in a similar way as it does for problem gamblers.


gambling; microtransaction; money; relative deprivation; upward mobility; Video game


Psychology | Public Health

File Format


File Size

1139 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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