A video game improves behavioral outcomes in adolescents and young adults with cancer: a randomized trial.

TitleA video game improves behavioral outcomes in adolescents and young adults with cancer: a randomized trial.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKato PM, Cole SW, Bradlyn AS, Pollock BH
Date Published2008 Aug
KeywordsAdaptation, Physiological, Adaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Adult, Female, Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Neoplasms, Patient Compliance, Patient Education as Topic, Poisson Distribution, Probability, Quality of Life, Reference Values, Self Efficacy, Video Games

OBJECTIVE: Suboptimal adherence to self-administered medications is a common problem. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a video-game intervention for improving adherence and other behavioral outcomes for adolescents and young adults with malignancies including acute leukemia, lymphoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma.

METHODS: A randomized trial with baseline and 1- and 3-month assessments was conducted from 2004 to 2005 at 34 medical centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia. A total of 375 male and female patients who were 13 to 29 years old, had an initial or relapse diagnosis of a malignancy, and currently undergoing treatment and expected to continue treatment for at least 4 months from baseline assessment were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. The intervention was a video game that addressed issues of cancer treatment and care for teenagers and young adults. Outcome measures included adherence, self-efficacy, knowledge, control, stress, and quality of life. For patients who were prescribed prophylactic antibiotics, adherence to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was tracked by electronic pill-monitoring devices (n = 200). Adherence to 6-mercaptopurine was assessed through serum metabolite assays (n = 54).

RESULTS: Adherence to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and 6-mercaptopurine was greater in the intervention group. Self-efficacy and knowledge also increased in the intervention group compared with the control group. The intervention did not affect self-report measures of adherence, stress, control, or quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: The video-game intervention significantly improved treatment adherence and indicators of cancer-related self-efficacy and knowledge in adolescents and young adults who were undergoing cancer therapy. The findings support current efforts to develop effective video-game interventions for education and training in health care.

Alternate JournalPediatrics
PubMed ID18676516
Grant ListCA054174 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
CA098543 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
CA95861 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States