April 9, 2021

Game on! A randomised controlled trial evaluation of playable technology in improving body satisfaction and negative affect among adolescents


Playables are mini-games used in digital advertising and may offer a novel and engaging avenue to improve young people’s well-being at scale. This randomised controlled trial evaluated the immediate impact and protective properties of a psychoeducational playable on adolescents’ body satisfaction and negative affect, and engagement in prosocial behaviours, relative to two active control conditions. Girls and boys aged 13–14 years (N = 6575) were randomised into one of three conditions: body image playable, body image social networking posts (i.e. static images of the body image playable messages; control 1) or an ocean conservation playable (control 2). Both body image micro-interventions significantly improved state body satisfaction and negative affect, relative to the oceanic playable. No condition buffered against the negative effects associated with viewing idealised media images. Developing playables to counteract the potentially harmful effects associated with surrounding digital environments is a promising avenue for mental health.

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