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Initial evaluation of a mobile therapeutic game for adolescent anxiety disorders

Steven Barnes (Faculty of Psychology, SWPS Uniwersytet Humanistycznospołeczny, Katowice, Poland)
Julie Prescott (Department of Psychology, University of Law, Manchester, UK)
Joseph Adams (Moreton-In-Marsh, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 15 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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).

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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