Gamification: Intervention app may improve mental health

A new randomized control trial has found that turning mobile mental health intervention into a smartphone game can potentially improve well-being.

Photo
eQuoo Interactive Game 1
Source: PsycApps

The five-week study conducted by Silja Litvin at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and her colleagues shows that gamifying the content of mobile interventions improved resilience, a key character trait that reduces the susceptibility to depression, stress, and anxiety.

Mobile mental health apps have the potential to act as interventions for depression and anxiety, but their effectiveness appears limited with studies showing that individuals do not stick with the routine for long periods of time. To improve their effectiveness, the authors proposed turning intervention content into a game that includes levels that need passing, feedback, points, and other gaming elements. A five-week randomized control trial was completed by 358 participants who were assigned to one of three groups: gamified intervention app, normal intervention app, and waitlisted with no app. Resilience and anxiety were measured by self-report surveys at three time points.

The authors add: "eQuoo [the gamified intervention app] was able to show that it not only had a significant and beneficial impact on the participant's mental wellbeing but that gamifying therapies counterbalances sky-high attrition rates most mental health apps struggle with, especially in the demographic of 18-35-year-olds."

The research was published in journal PLOS ONE.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

mhealth: the digital placebo effect of health apps

mhealth: the digital placebo effect of health apps

Sharing information about the expected effect of a health app before its use and providing positive feedback regarding its effectiveness after its use have the potential to strengthen the placebo effect.

Brain training app decoder improves users’ concentration

Brain training app decoder improves users’ concentration

A new 'brain training' game improves users' concentration. Scientists say this could provide a welcome antidote to the daily distractions that we face in a busy world.

Virtual reality helps to treat fear of heights

Virtual reality helps to treat fear of heights

Researchers have developed a VR app to reduce fear of heights. Now, they have conducted a clinical trial to study its efficacy.

Can an app change your personality?

Can an app change your personality?

Research has shown that daily use of a smartphone app can lead to desired personality changes within three months.

Soft brain implant controls brain cells​

Soft brain implant controls brain cells​

Researchers have invented a smartphone-controlled soft brain implant that can be recharged wirelessly from outside the body.

App monitors COVID-19 symptoms and mental health needs

App monitors COVID-19 symptoms and mental health needs

A new app that helps patients in self-isolation monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and identify their mental health needs has been developed.

Digital games may beat mindfulness apps at relieving stress

Digital games may beat mindfulness apps at relieving stress

Digital games, typical of those on smartphones, may relieve stress more effectively than mindfulness apps, a new study shows.

Sea Hero Quest can detect Alzheimer’s risk

Sea Hero Quest can detect Alzheimer’s risk

Researchers studied gaming data from the mobile game and found out that it can detect people at risk of Alzheimer’s.

This smartphone app simultaneously treats and tracks autism

This smartphone app simultaneously treats and tracks autism

Researchers are working on a smartphone app that could help diagnose autism in minutes – and provide ongoing therapy as well, all with fewer visits to specialized clinics.

Popular articles