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Can biofeedback-based videogames help kids regulate anger and emotions?

Video Game With Biofeed­back Teach­es Chil­dren to Curb Their Anger (Sci­ence Dai­ly):

Chil­dren with seri­ous anger prob­lems can be helped by a sim­ple video game that hones their abil­i­ty to reg­u­late their emo­tions, finds a pilot study at Boston Children’s Hos­pi­tal. Results were pub­lished online Octo­ber 24 in the jour­nal Ado­les­cent Psy­chi­a­try…The fast-paced game involves shoot­ing at ene­my space­ships while avoid­ing shoot­ing at friend­ly ones. As chil­dren play, a mon­i­tor on one fin­ger tracks their heart rate and dis­plays it on the com­put­er screen. When heart rate goes above a cer­tain lev­el, play­ers lose their abil­i­ty to shoot at the ene­my space­ships. To improve their game, they must learn to keep calm.”

Study: Aug­ment­ing Anger Con­trol Ther­a­py with a Videogame Requir­ing Emo­tion­al Con­trol: A Pilot Study on an Inpa­tient Psy­chi­atric Unit  (Ado­les­cent Psy­chi­a­try)

  • Abstract: Emo­tion­al dys­reg­u­la­tion in child­hood, which has been linked to sig­nif­i­cant social prob­lems in old­er ado­les­cence, is one of the most com­mon rea­sons for pedi­atric men­tal health treat­ment and psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal­iza­tions. Behav­ioral approach­es to treat­ment for these dis­or­ders are lim­it­ed, how­ev­er, result­ing in increas­ing use of restraints and psy­chotrop­ic drugs. A pilot study was imple­ment­ed on an inpa­tient psy­chi­atric unit to eval­u­ate fea­si­bil­i­ty and pro­vide proof of con­cept for a nov­el behav­ioral inter­ven­tion com­prised of anger con­trol ther­a­py (ACT), a cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral ther­a­py inter­ven­tion, aug­ment­ed by RAGE-Con­trol, a videogame that trains play­ers to reg­u­late phys­i­o­log­i­cal arousal in a chal­leng­ing but con­trolled sit­u­a­tion. Patients (N=18, 9–17 years old) with high lev­els of anger doc­u­ment­ed by the State Trait Anger Expres­sion Inven­to­ry-Child and Ado­les­cent (STAXI-CA) were enrolled in a 5-ses­sion inter­ven­tion (Exper­i­men­tal group). Changes in STAXI-CA State-Anger and Trait-Anger scores from base­line to Day 5 were com­pared to those of a demo­graph­i­cal­ly com­pa­ra­ble treat­ment as usu­al (TAU) his­toric con­trol group (N=19). The Exper­i­men­tal group showed large reduc­tions in STAXI-CA scores, com­pared to the TAU group. Com­pli­ance and sat­is­fac­tion were high. These find­ings sup­port the fea­si­bil­i­ty of the ACT with RAGE-Con­trol inter­ven­tion. Ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als aug­ment­ing ACT with the RAGE-Con­trol game are need­ed to estab­lish effi­ca­cy.

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