An Evaluation of Gaming-Related Harms in Relation to Gaming Disorder and Loot Box Involvement

Patrick Andrew Kerin Carey, Paul Delfabbro, Daniel King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The specific nature of harm and functional impairment in the context of gaming disorder (GD) has received limited attention. In this study, we present one of the first concerted attempts to measure the types and degree of harm experienced by people displaying signs of problem gaming. Attempts were made to assess the extent to which types of harm were attributable to gaming as opposed to other factors. The study also investigated potential behavioural indicators of harmful involvement, including exposure to loot boxes. A sample of 471 regular gamers (M = 380, F = 73), recruited through the online platform Prolific, completed a survey where problem gaming was identified using Petry et al.’s (2014) checklist. Individuals who met the cut-off for gaming disorder scored higher than the non-problem group on most dimensions of harm, with physical and psychological types being the most common issues. Loot box expenditure was low (M = $25 in 3 months, for the 10.8% of respondents who played loot boxes) but significantly positively associated with the degree of gaming-related financial harm. This study shows that problem gaming is most strongly associated with physical or psychological harm and that financial harms may manifest in gaming activities that facilitate continuous spending options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2906-2921
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Gambling
  • Gaming
  • Harm
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Loot boxes


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