Compared to a control group comprised of half of the sixty who did not play the games, test group participants realized a reduction in their symptoms by an average 57%. Improvements in mood and heightened levels of anxiety were also recorded.
Dr. Carmen Russoniello, director of East Carolina University’s biofeedback clinic and psycho-physiology lab talked the notable results of the study by stating, “The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression.”
Dr. Russoniello went on to advocate the playing of these games by stating, “Given that only 25 percent of people who suffer from depression are receiving treatment, it seems prudent to make these low-cost, readily accessible casual games video games available to those who need them. They should be made available at health clinics, community centers, online ‘medical sites,’ and given out by therapists as a means of intervention.”
The study, underwritten by PopCap™, was designed to follow sixty subjects suffering from depression by tracking their psychological, psycho-physiological, and biochemical, states. Thirty subjects played Bejeweled®, Peggle®, and Bookworm Adventures® games, while the other thirty were placed in the non-playing control group.
Results were also analyzed for differences between male and female subjects, as well as, between older (25 or older) and younger (younger than 25) subjects.
All subjects in the video game playing group were reported to have achieved “across-the-board reductions” in symptoms.
Following the study, seven subjects who had been initially diagnosed with moderate to severe depression were now upgraded to minor or minimal depression. Nine subjects who had been diagnosed with minor depression were reduced to four subjects.
Additionally, those in the group playing these video games saw an average 36% improvement of their physical symptoms of depression.
Subjects’ symptom improvements remained even after thirty minutes of playing the games and during the month the study was conducted.
If you’re interested in reading more about the results of the study you will find them at the ECU web site.
So if you are suffering from depression you may find it beneficial to spend a little time playing some family-friendly video games.