Development, testing and dissemination of video games that prevent and treat anxiety and depression in children and adolescents


A zeitgeist has emerged in the medical and educational fields for applied games as learning tools, and the mental health field is primed for a similar revolution; however, validated games for mental health are virtually nonexistent. What is critical at this early stage of innovation is to develop a rigorous theoretical framework that can offer best practices recommendations for both the research and implementation of games for mental health. Our aim is to address this conspicuous gap with the proposed program of research. We have developed a multidisciplinary research, development and dissemination (RD&D) model (Figure 1) that we propose is crucial at this early stage in order to establish best practices for games for mental health.
We propose to focus on the development and evaluation of games that target the two most serious mental health problems in youth today: anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed mental health problem in youth and the earliest to emerge among all forms of psychopathology, affecting up to 17% of children and adolescents. Likewise, depression is one of the three leading causes of global disease burden for young people aged 10 to 24 years; up to 20-24% of youths will experience a major depressive disorder by the time they reach the age of 18.
This proposal aims to use insights from evidence-based clinical practice and theoretical models to develop, and rigorously test, the effectiveness of two immersive, interactive games that help children and adolescents overcome feelings of anxiety and depression.





Prof. dr. R.C.M.E. Engels

Verbonden aan



A. Tuijnman MSc, J.W. Weerdmeester MSc, J.W. Weerdmeester MSc


01/03/2015 tot 29/02/2020