Depressed teenagers who played a computer game improved as much as those who met with a counselor, concludes a University of Auckland study in the British Medical Journal. Teens played an interactive 3-D fantasy game called SPARX. Their “avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones.”
. . . 44 percent of the SPARX group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26 percent recovered fully.
“Use of the programme resulted in a clinically significant reduction in depression, anxiety and hopelessness, and an improvement in quality of life,” according to the study led by Sally Merry, an associate professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine.
The adolescents also said they liked being able to play SPARX at home at their own pace.