Serious game as a therapeutic tool in psychiatry: A systematic review


  • Fovet Thomas
  • Micoulaud-Franchi Jean-Arthur
  • Vaiva Guillaume
  • Thomas Pierre
  • Jardri Renaud
  • Amad Ali


  • Psychiatry
  • Video game
  • Psychotherapy
  • Serious game
  • Psychiatric disorder

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CONTEXT: The growing field of new technologies offers new ways to tackle psychiatric disorders (e.g. virtual reality therapy, neurofeedback, etc.). Serious games (SG) are computer applications combining serious aspects with the fun side of video games. This kind of new media could find applications to treat psychiatric disorders. OBJECTIVE: This paper summarizes available data in the literature about therapeutic interventions using SG in psychiatry. METHOD: A Medline search was conducted in May 2014 using the following Medical Subject Headings (MESH) terms: "video games", "mental disorders", and "psychotherapy". RESULTS: Only 10 relevant references were identified according to our inclusion criteria. These studies show that SG are very interesting tools to improve the management of psychiatric disorders. However, only low-level evidence is available to support treatment with SG in patients suffering from psychiatric disorders. Indeed, randomized controlled trials are rare in this field of research. CONCLUSION: SG provide promising therapeutic innovations for the management of psychiatric disorders. Moreover, they could easily be developed in accordance with current dimensional approaches. Finally, major issues to facilitate the implementation of future work on SG in psychiatry are discussed.

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