Utilising a computer game as a therapeutic intervention for youth in residential care: Some preliminary findings on use and acceptability

Áine Aventin, Stan Houston, Geraldine Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
652 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Mental illness is common amongst young people living in residential care, many of whom are reluctant to avail of therapeutic help. The potential value of computer games as therapeutic tools for these young people has received very little attention, despite indications of their potential for promoting engagement in therapeutic work and improving mental health outcomes. This study aimed to fill this research gap through the development, introduction, and preliminary evaluation of a therapeutic intervention in group care settings. The intervention incorporated a commercially available computer game (The SIMS Life Stories™) and emotion regulation skill coaching. Qualified residential social workers were trained to deliver it to young people in three children's homes in Northern Ireland, where therapeutic approaches to social work had been introduced. The research was framed as an exploratory case study which aimed to determine the acceptability and potential therapeutic value of this intervention. The evidence suggests that computer-game based interventions of this type may have value as therapeutic tools in group care settings and deserve further development and empirical investigation to determine their effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-369
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume47
Issue number3
Early online date28 Oct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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