Acceptability of an adventure video game in the treatment of female adolescents with symptoms of depression

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Alvaro E. Carrasco *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alvaro E. Carrasco | athos@med.uchile.cl

Abstract

While many adolescent patients resistantly engage in psychotherapy, they are attracted by new technologies and video games. A development and research project was implemented to design an online adventure video game as a psychotherapeutic tool for depressed adolescents and to evaluate its acceptability. The game design followed the narrative structure of the hero’s journey and ideas from the cognitive behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy models for depression. Five psychotherapists and fifteen of their female adolescent patients with symptoms of depression tested the game. Some patients valued the video game in terms of learning helpful social and mental health-related behaviors. Therapists manifested that a video game like Maya could be a useful complementary tool for psychotherapy of adolescent girls. The study suggests that future developments of video games for mental health are worthwhile and it provides some ideas on how to incorporate psychotherapeutic notions in ludic environments.

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