Oana Alexandra David1,3, Răzvan Marius Predatu*2,3, Roxana Andreea-Ioana Cardoș2,3
1 Babeș-Bolyai University, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Babeș-Bolyai University, Evidence-Based Assessment
and Psychological Interventions Doctoral School, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3 Babeș-Bolyai University, International Institute for the Advanced Studies
of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health, Babeș-Bolyai University,
Introduction: Children and adolescents’ ability to effectively identify and understand emotions is an important aspect of development that has been linked to a variety of beneficial outcomes (e.g., better mental health, social skills and academic performance; Sprung, Münch, Harris, Ebesutani, & Hofmann, 2015). According to the binary model of distress (David, Montgomery, Macavei, & Bovbjerg, 2005), stemming from the Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy/Coaching (REBT/ REBC; Ellis, 1962) theory, there are functional and dysfunctional emotions, the latter ones being maladaptive. The REThink platform aims at using online gaming for coaching emotion regulation in children and adolescents based on these principles.
Objective: We conducted a pilot study to investigate if the Feeling Better mini video game, part of the REThink therapeutic online platform as a resource activity, can be a useful tool in coaching the distinction between functional and dysfunctional emotions in children and adolescents in the therapeutic video game environment.
Method: The online game was delivered to a sample of 22 children and adolescents, aged between 10 to 16 years. Emotion understanding was indexed by the amount of acquired points for correctly collecting functional emotions.
Results: The Feeling Better game was found to be a useful tool in improving in-game emotional understanding, children and adolescents indicating a significant increase in their ability to correctly identify and collect functional emotions after three trials of playing.
Conclusions: Using therapeutic video games may be a useful tool for coaching emotion regulation skills in children and adolescents. Finally, satisfaction with and advantages for the use of online video games in coaching emotional skills are discussed.
Keywords: therapeutic video games, emotion regulation skills, coaching, Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, children and adolescents
Published online: 2018/03/01
Published print: 2018/03/01
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