Casual gaming found to reduce depression, anxiety

Feeling guilty for sinking the better part of an hour into Bejeweled, Bookworm or Alchemy?

A study- albeit one underwritten by PopCap- found that in a group of nearly 60 adults diagnosed with clinical depression, “significant reductions in depression across the board” were found after both single gameplay sessions lasting roughly 40 minutes and cumulatively during the month-long study. When contrasted with a control group, the casual gamers were found to have experienced a 55% drop in anger levels and a 58% improvement in fatigue levels.

Researchers described the findings and their possible impact on mitigating depression and anxiety:

“The results of this randomized clinical study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on depression and anxiety symptoms… In our opinion these findings support the use of prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or even replacement for, standard therapies including medication.”

Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures were the titles subjects played 12 times in a one-month period for the study. Do you use casual gaming to relieve stress? Do you think gaming has untapped therapeutic applications?