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Front Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 22;8:300. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00300. eCollection 2017.

Commercial Video Games As Therapy: A New Research Agenda to Unlock the Potential of a Global Pastime.

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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States.
Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative, Baltimore, MD, United States.
Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Emerging research suggests that commercial, off-the-shelf video games have potential applications in preventive and therapeutic medicine. Despite these promising findings, systematic efforts to characterize and better understand this potential have not been undertaken. Serious academic study of the therapeutic potential of commercial video games faces several challenges, including a lack of standard terminology, rapidly changing technology, societal attitudes toward video games, and understanding and accounting for complex interactions between individual, social, and cultural health determinants. As a vehicle to launch a new interdisciplinary research agenda, the present paper provides background information on the use of commercial video games for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of mental and other health conditions, and discusses ongoing grassroots efforts by online communities to use video games for healing and recovery.


Internet; eHealth; mental health; prevention; social media; social support; technology; video games

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