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.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychopathologies in children. This project investigates the effects of a biofeedback virtual reality game (DEEP) on breathing and anxiety-related symptoms in anxious children and develops new algorithms to detect changes in the player’s behavior during the game. The aim is to enable game interventions that are personalized to each individual child.
Marieke van Rooij
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
The video game MindLight has been found to be an effective anxiety prevention program (see project: MindLight - Childhood Anxiety Prevention). However, we don’t know whether the clinical techniques incorporated in the game were responsible for the observed changes in anxiety symptoms. In this project we examined how children play MindLight, to what extent they interact with the clinical techniques in the game and how that relates to their anxiety improvements.