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Effects of Serious Games for Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

Dobrowolski, MSc S. (2023) Effects of Serious Games for Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis.

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Abstract:Non-pharmacological interventions are increasingly being developed and implemented for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Serious games (SG) are one of the most recent non-pharmacological interventions being developed and assessed for efficacy. Previous literature stated that SGs have great potential for treating ADHD and are already used in treatment in combination with Neurofeedback (NF) and electroencephalogram (EEG). With only several experimental studies but no substantial evidence on the effectiveness of SG for reducing ADHD symptoms and improving executive functions (EF) being available yet, the present study conducted a meta-analysis. A systematic literature review was conducted using databases of Scopus, Base, WOS, PsychINFO, Pubmed, Cochrane, ACM, and IEEE. A random effects model was used for the pooled effect sizes, and heterogeneity was examined by Q and I² statistics. Publication bias was assessed by funnel plots. In total, eight studies were included, and five different meta-analyses were conducted. The first looked at the effect of SGs on the main ADHD symptoms, and the results showed a small, non-significant positive effect (g = 0.01). The second and third meta-analysis looked at one of the main symptoms each (inattention and hyperactivity), and both showed a small, non-significant negative effect (g = -0.04; g = -0.01). The fourth looked at the effect of SGs on EFs in general, and the last focused on working memory (WM) specifically. The analyses on EF found a small, non-significant positive effect (g = 0.24), and the one on WM a large, non-significant positive effect (g = 0.80). Therefore, SGs may be effective for ADHD treatment in general but this study found no evidence of its effectiveness as a standalone intervention. Further experimental research is needed to investigate the specific effects of SG on ADHD and its effects when used in combination with NF or EEG.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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