Mental health service users’ and professionals’ relationship with games and gaming
Hopia, H., Siitonen, M., & Raitio, K. (2018). Mental health service users’ and professionals’ relationship with games and gaming. Digital Health, 4, 1-12. doi:10.1177/2055207618779718
Published inDigital Health
© The Authors 2018.
Background Games and elements of gamification can be utilized in mental healthcare to provide customized interventions for the service users. However, very little evidence exists as to what kind of experiences service users and professionals have towards games and gaming, and what their perceptions of the phenomenon are. This sort of information is needed to help professionals put game-based interventions actively into practice in mental health services. Research objectives The objective is to describe the experiences and perceptions of digital games and gaming from the perspectives of mental health service users and mental health professionals. Methods In this qualitative study, data consisted of interviews of 23 mental health service users and professionals working in the mental health field. We conducted altogether 39 interviews. Sixteen of the participants were interviewed twice. Main categories and subcategories were identified using qualitative content analysis. Results The analysis revealed four distinct orientations towards games and gaming: (a) compulsive gaming; (b) closet gaming; (c) gaming as a hobby; and (d) late bloomers. Each group was characterized by different personal histories, experiences, conceptions and attitudes regarding gaming and digital games. Conclusion When attempting to implement a game-based intervention in mental health services, it is essential to recognize the different attitudes that both service users and staff exhibit concerning games and gaming. The attitudes of service users and professionals described in this study can be utilized in the implementation of game-based methods as part of care and rehabilitation in mental health services. ...