The Effectiveness of Serious Video Games on Mental Health Related Outcomes: Systematic Review

O Danilina, Anna Cox, A Fonseca, S Johnson
in Workshop on Games For The Assessment And Treatment Of Mental Health, CHI PLAY 17, Conference abstract/presentation slides, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Therapeutic serious video games are advancing rapidly in the field of mental health, targeting a number of psychiatric conditions. However, little is known about the impact of these games on mental health symptoms. We conducted a systematic review of papers reporting studies of the effectiveness of serious video games on mental health related outcomes. Results suggest that serious video games for intellectual disabilities and psychotic disorders, targeting cognitive symptoms seem to have the most potential, while serious video games for anxiety tend to show less impact, especially in randomised control trials. There are as yet unrealized opportunities for designers to create serious game mental health interventions for a wider range of audiences and delivery platforms.