Article

An evaluation of ‘Reach Out Central’: An online gaming program for supporting the mental health of young people

National eTherapy Centre.Therapy Unit, Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Australia.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 02/2010; 25(4):563-74. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyq002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to conduct an evaluation of Reach Out Central (ROC), an online gaming program designed to support the mental health of people aged 16-25. The evaluation sought to determine the benefit of playing ROC on alcohol use, use of coping strategies, psychological distress, resilience and satisfaction with life. Changes in mental health literacy, mental health stigma and willingness to seek help and program satisfaction were also investigated. A single group (N = 266) quasi-experimental repeated measures (pre-, post-program, 2-month follow-up) design was employed. The results demonstrated positive improvements across all outcome measures for females; however, a non-significant worsening effect was observed for males on seeking support, avoidance and resilience. Improvements for both genders were observed on mental health literacy and help-seeking. However, literacy levels and help-seeking were significantly higher, and stigma significantly lower for females. Program satisfaction ratings were high irrespective of gender. Although some inconsistencies between genders were noted, ROC appears to enhance protective factors for the prevention or early intervention of mental health disorders. The results of this study need to be viewed with its limitations in mind, specifically, the use of an open trial methodology and the small number of male participants.

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Available from: Kerrie Shandley
    • "Qualitative anecdotal evidence supports the idea that serious games can be useful in motivating patients for behavioral change (e.g. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]). In contrast, quantitative evidence on games' behavioral change effects, is scarce [12- 14] relative to the number of studies performed. "

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    • "If personal income was a barrier in service utilization, it is not a barrier for Internet use [51]. Additionally, we did not find the gender barrier to online services reported elsewhere [12,24,25,28,50,53]. It is the first time that a study examined the relative role of childhood negative events as a predisposing factor for e-mental health care. "
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    • "No data reported; discussion states that CBCL indicated improvement while YSR symptom scores were less conclusive Discussion states gNats Island had a positive impact on participants Shandley et al, 2010 ReachOutCentral Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) K10: Report only a significant gender effect (F(1,264)=11.89, p=0.00) with females having a higher levels of distress than males. "
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