Loot box spending is associated with problem gambling but not mental wellbeing

Etchells, P.J, Morgan, A.L and Quintana, D.S (2022) 'Loot box spending is associated with problem gambling but not mental wellbeing.' Royal Society Open Science, 9 (8). e220111. ISSN 2054-5703

14891.pdf - Published Version
CC BY 4.0.

Download (803kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.220111


There are emerging concerns that loot boxes—digital video game items that can be purchased for a chance at randomized rewards—are associated with problematic gambling behaviours and, in turn, are potentially harmful. Current research suggests consistent correlations between loot box spending (LS) and problematic gambling symptomology; however, little research has looked at relationships with mental wellbeing. Here, we used a Bayesian hypothesis testing framework to assess the relative strength of evidence for relationships between LS, excessive gaming, problem gambling, mental wellbeing and psychological distress. Two thousand seven hundred twenty-eight participants who reported playing games containing loot box mechanics in the past month answered a survey assessing the above measures, as well as other forms of digital spending. The results showed extremely strong evidence for a positive correlation between LS and problem gambling; however, there was no evidence to suggest relationships between such spending and mental wellbeing or psychological distress. Exploratory results suggested that individuals who spend money on loot boxes also spend more across a range of digital purchases generally. The findings highlight an urgent need to understand what constitutes harm when considering LS effects and provide further context for discussions regarding how best to regulate such mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
UN SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Keywords: mental health, gambling, video games, loot boxes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Sciences
Research Centres and Groups: Psychology Research Centre for Health and Cognition
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.220111
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2022 10:17
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2022 19:23
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14891
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)