Design and pilot study of an adventere video game as a tool in psychotherapeutic processes of adolescent women with symptoms of depression
Jiménez, Juan Pablo
Carrasco Guzmán, Álvaro Ernesto
Aim: Technology and the internet are new platforms to deliver information, to
interconnect people and to offer interactive media. The potential of technology has been
explored, in promising ways, for the treatment and prevention of different psychological
disorders. Also, since several decades ago, the potential of video games for the treatment
and prevention of psychological disorders has been explored with positive results. The
main goals of this study were two: a) to design an online adventure video game as
complementary tool in psychotherapeutic processes of adolescent women with symptoms
of depression; b) to evaluate the acceptability by female adolescents of an online video
game as a complementary tool in psychotherapy.
Methods: a) Design phase. The game design followed a user oriented iterative process.
First, focus groups with teenage girls were conducted to obtained ideas for the video game
story. The first prototypes were play tested with some girls. Besides, the video game design
process was accompanied and reviewed by 5 psychotherapists. b) Pilot study. Therapist (5)
invited patients (15) to play the game. After patients played the video game, they responded
the online acceptability and game experience questionnaires. In the sessions that followed
therapist and patients reflected on the relation of the video game and the patients‘ situation.
Later, psychotherapists were interviewed to obtain their opinions about the experience.
Results: It was possible to design an adventure video game, sustained in psychological
theory that provided a positive game experience for some depressive patients and that it
was useful in the context of their psychotherapies.
Discussion: One of the most important contributions of this work is that the video game
prototype and the experiences presented provide evidence that future developments and
research on video games for mental health are worthwhile. This was a very simple game, a
prototype that recognizes a future in which interactive devices and artificial intelligence
will offer vast possibilities for education and mental health.
Keywords: Video game for mental health, interactive narratives, depression,
psychotherapy with adolescents, psychoeducation.
Universidad de Chile
Type of license
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States