The Use of Videogames and Virtual Reality for the Assessment of Anxiety and Depression: A Scoping Review

Vibhav Chitale*, Nilufar Baghaei, Daniel Playne, Hai Ning Liang, Yinshu Zhao, Aysu Erensoy, Yvette Ahmad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study provides a comprehensive review about the use of videogames and virtual reality (VR) for the assessment of anxiety and depression. This review aimed to answer the research question of the viability of games and VR for the assessment of anxiety and depression. An extensive literature search spanning across several databases published since the year 2000 returned a total of 4566 records. Based on the eligibility criteria, the screening process resulted in the selection of 10 articles for the final review. Equal number of studies utilized games (n = 5) and VR. Three studies made use of machine learning techniques. Only two were found to be clinical studies. An interesting finding was that the studies that focused on anxiety disorders relied mostly on VR, whereas those focused on depression disorders relied mostly on the use of videogames for the assessment. Majority of studies reported encouraging findings that support the use of games or VR for the assessment of anxiety and depression. This study identified potential digital biomarkers or correlates of anxiety and depression that may guide researchers in the design process. It is necessary to highlight that researchers should consider consultation with trained mental health experts, while designing such assessments to ensure safety and privacy. However, due to limited number of articles as well as lack of clinical studies, more clinical evidence is required to strongly support this notion of using videogames or VR as assessment tools for anxiety and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-354
Number of pages14
JournalGames for Health Journal
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Assessment
  • Depression
  • Diagnosis
  • Games
  • Review
  • Virtual reality

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