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Study: Casual Video Games Demonstrate Significant Ability to Reduce Depression and Anxiety; Clinical Importance Highlighted

DUBLIN February 16, 2011

East Carolina University

East Carolina University’s

Carmen Russoniello

the United States



The video game group saw significant reductions in depression across the board, with all seven subjects previously classified as suffering from moderate to severe depression moving to the minor or minimal depression categories. At the same time, the number of subjects classified as having minor depression dropped from nine to four.

Further analyses revealed differences in the effects of the games on male test subjects compared to female subjects, as well as differences between younger (less than 25 years) and older (equal to or greater than 25) study participants. Significant changes in overall mood (65% improvement on average) and anxiety level (20% reduction in anxiety on average) were also identified among subjects in the video game group. Even somatic, or overall physical, symptoms, improved in the experimental group, by 36% on average. Additional details on these and other initial findings of the study are available at


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"Compliance was not an issue in this study with all participants meeting minimum playing time requirements and there were no side effects reported in the month long study. Given that only 25% of people who suffer from depression are receiving treatment, it seems prudent to make these low cost, readily accessible casual games video games available to those who need them. They should be made available at health clinics, community centers, online ‘medical sites’ and given out by therapists as a means of intervention."

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