A Video Game Designed to Treat Depression Worked Better Than Counseling

More

SPARX uses the form of a videogame to help depressive teenagers treat themselves.

medGadget
medGadget

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand just published promising results of a study comparing a video game they designed to help treat depression in teenage kids against traditional face-to-face counseling. Called SPARX, the game guides the players through a number of challenges that help practice handling various life situations and emotions that come with them.

The study, published in the latest issue of BMJ, has shown that the game was at least as effective as counseling in helping treat depression and anxiety in a study group of kids averaging 15 years old. [Editor's note: In fact, it worked better, reducing symptoms of depression more than treatment as usual.]

More about the game from the developers:

It uses a 3D animated game environment and a custom-made soundtrack to engage young people and teach them skills to manage symptoms of depression, in a self-directed learning format. Users are able to customise their avatar and journey to seven Provinces, each with a unique set of challenges and puzzles.

The Guide explains how the skills in the game relate to the challenges a young person may face in the real world. Young people learn cognitive behavioural therapy techniques for dealing with symptoms of depression (e.g. dealing with negative thoughts, problem-solving, activity scheduling, relaxation, etc). It can be used with minimal oversight.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

Jump to comments
Presented by

medGadget is written by a group of MDs and biomedical engineers.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In