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

GREENVILLE, N.C. SEATTLE Feb. 16, 2011 East Carolina University

The hypothesis was tested using state-of-the-art technologies including psycho-physiological, biochemical and psychological measurements, and found an average reduction in depression symptoms of 57% in the experimental ("video game") group.  The study, the first such research ever to measure the efficacy of video games in reducing depression and anxiety, also found significant reduction in anxiety, as well as improvements in all aspects of mood, among study subjects who played the casual video games.

Carmen Russoniello

Russoniello said that the games had both short term (after 30 minutes of game play) and long term (after one month) effects when compared to the control group. "Equally important, the data supports the hypothesis that casual video games contain intrinsic qualities that, when played, provoke physiological and biochemical changes consistent with positive changes in mood and anxiety."

the United States

Findings

High-level www.ecu.edu/biofeedback http://dropbox.popcap.com/PR/PopCap_Games_ECU_Study_Graph/PopCap_Games_ECU_Study_Graph_1.zip

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.

http://dropbox.popcap.com/PR/PopCap_Games_ECU_Study_Graph/PopCap_Games_ECU_Study_Graph_2.zip

www.ecu.edu/biofeedback

Methodology

July 2009 August 2010 August 2010 November 2010 www.ecu.edu/biofeedback

"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," Russoniello noted. "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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