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Conference Presentations and Abstracts

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Parents' Restricting Mediation and Communication Styles (EARA 2022)

On the EARA Conference 2002 (24-27 August), organized by the European Association for Research on Adolescence, Lowie Bradt presented our poster on the "Antecedents and Consequences of Parents' Restricting Mediation and Communication Styles in the Domain of Gaming" (Bradt, L., Soenens, B., De Cock, R., Zaman, B. Grosemans, E., Denoo, M.)

This poster is accessible here

Journal articles

More than loot boxes: the role of video game streams and gambling-like elements in the gaming-gambling connection among adolescents

Paper published in Journal of Gambling Issues (Grosemans, E. , De Cock, R., Bradt, L., Zaman, B.), March 2024.

The intertwining of video games and gambling, known as simulated gambling, has prompted concerns about the potential influence of simulated gambling as a stepping stone towards monetary gambling. Previous studies tend to focus overwhelmingly on loot boxes, which are video game packages where the randomized content is hidden until opening them. The current study broadens this horizon by mapping the relationships between various gambling-like elements within the video gaming ecosystem, and monetary gambling. Applying the Theory of Reasoned Action, the study considered attitude, perceived normative pressure, and intention alongside monetary gambling behavior. In winter 2021 and early 2022, 1472 Flemish adolescents (mean age = 14.02, 47.5% female) took part in a survey on simulated and monetary gambling. Respondents had participated in simulated (75.3%) and monetary gambling (60.4%) in the past year. Bivariate correlations revealed that gambling-like activities were positively correlated (p < .001) with monetary gambling. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that watching gambling streams, spinning prize wheels, and spending money in social casino games predict monetary gambling (p < .001). Adding loot boxes and other gambling-like elements explained extra variance on top of gender and age (p < .001). Structural equation modelling suggested a pathway model from simulated gambling to monetary gambling attitude, normative pressure, intention, and behavior. This study underscores the importance of considering diverse gambling-like elements in research on the relationship between simulated and monetary gambling, next to the applicability of the Theory of Reasoned Action.

The article is accessible here

Making Complexity Measurable in Practice: A Formal Analysis of Gamble-Play media

Paper published in Games and Culture (Denoo, M., Dupont, B., Zaman, B., Grosemans, E., & Malliet, S.), May 2023.

Over the past decade, videogames have become increasingly gambling-like in their design. Scientific and regulatory attempts to unravel such design seem particularly oriented towards the effects and regulatory treatment of paid-for loot boxes, favoring either measurability or complexity. Departing from gamble-play theory, this paper, therefore, attempts to make complexity measurable in practice. We conduct a formal analysis of 20 videogames that include loot boxes, social casino games, optional gambling-themed activities and token wagering by identifying and mapping interactions between their features. Having uncovered 51 features across 11 categories, we then reinterpret previously established notions of gambling. In doing so, we aim to contribute to a future-proof understanding of gambling in videogames.

The article is accessible here

Does parents' perceived style of setting limits to gaming matter? The interplay between profiles of parental mediation and BIS/BAS sensitivity in problematic gaming and online gambling

Paper published in Journal of Adolescence (Bradt, Lowie; Grosemans, Eva; De Cock, Rozane; Dupont, Bruno; Vansteenkiste, Maarten; Soenens, Bart), November 2023.

Parents try to prevent possible negative outcomes associated with gaming by setting rules on their adolescent's gaming behavior (i.e., restrictive mediation). Parents can use either more autonomy-supportive or more controlling styles to communicate those rules. Using a person-centered approach, this study aims to, first, identify profiles of parents' perceived degree of restrictive mediation in gaming and styles of communicating these rules (i.e., autonomy-supportive and controlling); second, to examine how adolescents in different profiles differ in terms of maladaptive gaming outcomes (i.e., problematic gaming, simulated, and online gambling); third, to investigate the moderating role of gaming frequency and adolescents' personality (i.e., behavioral inhibition system [BIS] sensitivity and behavioral activation system [BAS] sensitivity) in the associations between the parental profiles and the outcomes.


The study used quantitative, cross-sectional survey data from Belgian adolescents (N = 1651, mean age = 14.00 years, 51.2% boys), collected between November 2021 and February 2022 in schools.

Cluster analysis yielded four profiles of perceived restrictive mediation: an exclusively controlling one, an autonomy-supportive one, one where parents used a perceived mix of both communication styles, and one where there was an overall perceived lack of restrictive mediation. Adolescents in the controlling profile displayed the most maladaptive outcomes. Some of the associations between the parental profiles and the outcomes were stronger for more frequent gamers and for adolescents scoring higher on both BIS and BAS sensitivity.

Associations between the parental profiles and gaming outcomes were theoretically meaningful, yet small in terms of effect size.

The article is accessible here

Counterplay: Circumventing the Belgian Ban on Loot Boxes by Adolescents

Paper published in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (Denoo, Maarten; Dupont, Bruno; Grosemans, Eva; Zaman, Bieke; De Cock, Rozane, October 2023.

In 2018, Belgium made the world news for being the first country to ban loot boxes in games for all its inhabitants. As players’ freedom to purchase loot boxes was restricted, however, methods of circumventing the ban came into practice. Departing from counterplay theory, we drew from an online survey among Belgian adolescents aged 11 18 with two questions in mind: what counterplay practices are used to circumvent the Belgian ban on loot boxes, and how do counterplayers (N = 124) compare to non counterplayers (N = 329) in terms of their engagement with loot boxes and games more broadly? Our findings suggest that counterplayers resist current regulatory arrangements in a myriad of ways, delineating the boundaries of a national ban in a global game ecology. Counterplayers appeared to differentiate themselves from non counterplayers both in terms of depth characteristics (sense of belonging to an online community, perceived gaming ability, gaming disorder, and risky loot box use) and breadth characteristics (frequency of skin betting, selling loot box rewards, and (re)watching loot box opening livestreams). Ultimately, our study may tease out debate on how to regulate games successfully in the face of players’ technical abilities and motivation to gain access.

The full article is accessible here

Illustrations by Gudrun Makelberge

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