This project explored the potential of using game-based biofeedback interventions for anxiety regulation. Specifically, the project had the following aims: 1) Creating a new integrative theoretical model featuring traditional as well as newly proposed mechanisms of change in biofeedback interventions for anxiety regulation. 2) Further developing and validating the efficacy of the biofeedback video game DEEP as an anxiety regulation tool. 3) Formulating guidelines for future research and development of biofeedback interventions for anxiety regulation.
Marieke van Rooij
Many children have difficulties with fearful situations and are anxious. Interventions can help to teach children to cope effectively with anxiety-inducing situations. In our project, we rigorously tested whether an intervention in the form of a video game (MindLight) is effective in significantly reducing anxiety symptoms in children 8-12 years old. We did this by comparing MindLight to 1) a commercial game and 2) the gold-standard, cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety (Coping Cat). Furthermore, we evaluated the motivational characteristics of MindLight and for whom (e.g., age and gender differences) it is effective.
Commercial video games may offer a cheap and readily available way to help us understand in what way video games can be used to promote adolescent well-being. Excellent targets for this are games that involve social interaction, encourage both positive and negative emotions and are identified by youth themselves as potentially beneficial. By letting youth play several commercial video games in different settings, we can learn how games interact with well-being and motivation in both short and long-term.
Because anxiety is an important cause of impairment for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is necessary that effective anxiety interventions are implemented for these children. Recently, a serious game called "MindLight" has been developed that is focused on decreasing anxiety in children. It is expected that MindLight is an effective anxiety treatment for children with an autism spectrum disorder.
In my PhD project I study social games for the prevention of depression. In my project I take part in both the development and testing of games. I want to use video games to help youth become more emotionally resilient and to decrease the stigma that surrounds depression. I do this in close collaboration with other researchers and game designers. I am particularly interested in games that are played in a social context, because I believe that both social threat and social support are key factors in the development and maintenance of depression.
Erik van den Berge