This study aims to evaluate a novel mobile therapeutic videogame for adolescents with anxiety disorders (ADs), combining elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy and attention-bias modification, in terms of both its therapeutic efficacy over a controlled intervention and two-month follow-up, as well as the extent and implications of self-directed play.
A within-groups design with two parallel conditions [clinical anxiety (N = 16) and subclinical/at-risk (N = 15)] were measured on both self-reported anxiety and threat-detection bias (TDB) across three timepoints (pre- and post-intervention and two-month follow-up).
Significant reductions were observed in both self-reported state and trait anxiety and TDB over the course of the two-week intervention, which were maintained at follow-up. Engagement in self-directed play during the follow-up period significantly predicted outcomes at two-month follow-up for clinical participants.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper represents the first of its kind to evaluate a mobile therapeutic game designed with and solely for adolescents with ADs. This study also represents the first of its kind to examine the extent and implications of self-directed play for outcomes.
Barnes, S., Prescott, J. and Adams, J. (2022), "Initial evaluation of a mobile therapeutic game for adolescent anxiety disorders", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-11-2022-0076
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