The Use of Videogames as Complementary Therapeutic Tool for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Bulimia Nervosa Patients

Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, Susana Jimenez-Murcia, Juan J. Santamaría, Cristina Giner-Bartolomé, Gemma Mestre-Bach, Roser Granero, Isabel Sánchez, Zaida Agüera, Maher H. Moussa, Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, Dimitri Konstantas, Tony Lam, Mikkel Lucas, Jeppe Nielsen, Peter Lems, Salomé Tarrega, José Manuel Menchón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015. Although cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be the most effective approach for the treatment of bulimia nervosa (BN), there is lack of studies showing whether a combination with a serious video game (SVG) might be useful to enhance patients' emotional regulation capacities and general outcome. The aims of this study were (a) to analyze whether outpatient CBT + SVG, when compared with outpatient CBT - SVG, shows better short-term outcome; (b) to examine whether the CBT + SVG group is more effective in reducing emotional expression and levels of anxiety than CBT - SVG. Thirty-eight patients diagnosed as having BN according to DSM-5 criteria were consecutively assigned to two outpatient group therapy conditions (that lasted for 16 weekly sessions): 20 CBT + SVG versus 18 CBT - SVG. Patients were assessed before and after treatment using not only a food and binging/purging diary and clinical questionnaires in the field of eating disorders but also additional indexes for measuring anger expression and anxiety. Regarding the post-treatment psychometric measures, most of the mean differences (Eating Disorder Inventory-2, Symptom Checklist-Revised, State-Trait Anxiety Index, and partially State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory) achieved moderate to high effect size (d > 0.5), in the sense that CBT + SVG obtained the best results compared with the CBT - SVG group. Regarding therapy outcome (dropout, partial remission, and total remission), CBT + SVG showed better results and a moderate effect size emerged for the comparison of the risk of dropout during the treatment, being higher for CBT - SVG compared with CBT + SVG (44.1 percent versus 20.0 percent, d = 0.54). Although the sample size in our study was low, and consequently results should be considered with caution, we have obtained promising findings suggesting that in the short-term CBT + SVG might be a good option not only for improving emotional dysregulation and approaching the current limitations of CBT - SVG in BN but also for enhancing the therapy adherence of patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-751
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

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