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.
Smoking is one of the leading public health problems in the world. In the Netherlands today, still 1 in 4 youth between the ages of 16 and 25 smoke. Even more worrisome is that there are almost no evidence-based interventions available to help them quit smoking. That’s why we, in collaboration with scientists, game designers and smoking youth, developed and tested a game to help youth quit smoking. HitnRun is a mobile game in which you can train your impulse control, and in which you collaborate in teams, support each other’s quit attempts, and compete against other teams.
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.