Predictors of gaming behavior among military peacekeepers – exploring the role of boredom and loneliness in relation to gaming problems
The aim of the current study was to explore gaming problems in post-deployment veterans and to investigate whether boredom and loneliness can predict levels of gaming problems. The general well-being of veterans post their deployments to war zones is linked to an array of negative health consequences, and veterans may be at risk for developing gaming problems after homecomings. Problems that may be related to engagement in gaming include coping with negative emotions, such as boredom and loneliness, which are often faced by homecoming veterans as well. The sample in this study comprised Afghanistan veterans (N = 246), with a mean age of 37.5 years (standard deviation = 9.6 years), and 8.8% of the veterans showed symptoms indicative of problem gaming. This is not higher than that found in the general adult population in Norway. Logistic regression analyses showed that boredom proneness (lack of internal stimulation) and enhancement motivation were independent significant predictors of gaming problems, after controlling for age, gender, coping motivation, social motivation, anxiety, depression, loneliness, lack of external stimulation, hazardous drinking, and combat exposure. These factors accounted for as much as 65.8% of the variance in gaming problem status. We conclude that veterans who are highly motivated by enhancement motives and score low on lack of internal stimulation may be prone to developing gaming problems.