This meta-analytic review aimed to investigate the effectiveness of gamified interventions in bolstering mental health.
The gamification and the control groups were compared in terms of the between-group differences in posttest scores of both mental wellness (subjective well-being and quality of life) and psychological symptoms (anxiety and depressive symptoms).
The review analyzed 42 studies involving 5792 participants (aged 8-74) across eight world regions. The random-effects meta-analysis revealed an overall small to medium effect size (Hedges' g = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.22, 0.55; k = 141). The benefits of gamification in enhancing mental wellness were independent of both game and demographic characteristics, but there were intricate findings for studies examining the benefits of gamification in reducing psychological symptoms. For anxiety symptom reduction, the effects were larger (vs. smaller) in studies adopting specific (vs. general) measures of anxiety and in samples comprising a higher (vs. lower) proportion of males (ps < .04). For depressive symptom reduction, the effects were larger (vs. smaller) in non-clinical (vs. clinical) samples (p = .01).
These new findings are promising in showing the viability of gamification in promoting mental wellness, encouraging greater collaborations among scholars, practitioners, and game developers to contribute to the growing field of gamification science by co -designing more effective gamified interventions.
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