Kinect Adventures versus Physical Exercise on depressive symptoms of older adults: A pilot study

Jéssica Maria Ribeiro Bacha, Gisele Cristine Vieira Gomes, Tatiana Beline de Freitas, Camila Torriani-Pasin, Belinda Lange, José Eduardo Pompeu


Introduction: Depressive and anxiety disorders are considered the main cause of emotional suffering and decrease of quality of life among older adults. It has been suggested that the practice of physical exercise can be a treatment option for anxiety and depression. Alternative approaches such serious games show promise for reducing depression symptoms. Objective: To compare the effect of virtual reality, in the form of commercially available interactive Kinect Adventures video games, compared to a standard physical exercise program on depressive symptoms of older adults. Method: This is a pilot study, parallel group, single-blind randomized controlled pilot trial that recruited two intervention groups: Interactive Video Game Kinect Adventures (IVG, n=8) versus usual physical exercise program (PEP, n=6). The two groups completed a seven week program with a total of fourteen 60-minute sessions divided into two sessions a week. The IVG completed individual training sessions using the Microsoft Xbox Kinect Adventures games and the PEP performed a group exercise program. Depression symptoms were measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15). This measure was assessed pre-intervention, post intervention and at 30-day follow-up. Results: There was a significant effect of assessment without group effect or interaction between factors, in the GDS-15 (RM-ANOVA, P < 0.0001). Both groups showed improvement in the GDS-15 post intervention assessment that was maintained after 30-day follow-up (Bonferroni post hoc test, P < 0.05). Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that both Interactive Kinect Adventures video games and physical exercise provide beneficial effects on depressive symptoms of older adults.

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