Health Benefits of Digital Videogames for the Aging Population: A Systematic Review

Wenge Xu, Hai Ning Liang*, Nilufar Baghaei, Bing Wu Berberich, Yong Yue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This article presents the results of a systematic review of the latest, state-of-the-art research on videogames designed for older adults (i.e., those aged 65 or older) and the health benefits derived from playing these games. Findings from each study that met the inclusion criteria were analyzed and summarized into emergent themes to determine the impact of digital games in promoting healthy behaviors and benefits among these older adults. Materials and Methods: Five databases (PubMed, ScienceDirect, IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library, and Google Scholar) were searched for studies that evaluated interventions of videogames for older adults aged 65 and older. The initial search yielded 806 articles. After evaluating them against the inclusion criteria, 23 studies remained. Results: Out of the 23 studies we reviewed, 20 reported the significant impact of videogame interventions on the elderly's physical health. In addition, 14 studies reported effects on the elderly's mental health. Exergame is the most popular type of game used in these videogame-based interventions. This review also includes the details of study design (e.g., type of intervention, length, frequency), population sample, and measurements used in the studies. Conclusions: This systematic review demonstrates that videogame-based interventions are helpful in promoting physical health (i.e., balance, mobility, strength, physical fitness, and walking performance/gait parameters) and mental health (i.e., balance confidence, executive functions, reaction time, and processing speed) among older adults. It can also be used by researchers in this field to inform their design decisions. We have listed guidelines that can be used to frame future research in the area and enhance its quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-404
Number of pages16
JournalGames for Health Journal
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Aging population
  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Social health
  • Videogames

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