Feasibility of a web-accessible game-based intervention aimed at improving help seeking and coping among sexual and gender minority youth: results from a randomized controlled trial

James E. Egan, Stephanie L. Corey, Emmett R. Henderson, Kaleab Z. Abebe, William Louth-Marquez, Dorothy Espelage, Simon C. Hunter, Matthew DeLucas, Elizabeth Miller, Brooke A. Morrill, Kimberly Hieftje, Jordan M. Sang, Mark S. Friedman, Robert W.S. Coulter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To address the gap in interventions for improving sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY; e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth) health, we tested the feasibility of a game-based intervention for increasing help-seeking, productive coping skills, resource knowledge/use, and well-being.
Methods: We conducted a 2-arm randomized controlled trial testing a theory-based, community-informed, Web-accessible computer role playing game intervention. Control condition received a list of resources. Primary hypotheses were high levels of implementation success, game demand, and game acceptability.
Results: We randomized 240 SGMY aged 14-18 into the intervention (n=120) or control (n=120) conditions. Participants completed baseline (100%), 1-month follow-up (T2; 73.3%), and 2-month follow-up (T3; 64.4%) surveys. Among intervention participants, 55.8% downloaded and played the game. Of those who played, 46.2% reported a desire to play it again and 50.8% would recommend it. Game acceptability exceeded hypothesized benchmarks, wherein participants reported high positive affect (M=2.36; 95% CI:2.13,2.58), low negative affect (M=2.75; 95% CI:2.55,2.95), low tension/annoyance (M=3.18; 95% CI:2.98,3.39), and high competence (M=2.23; 95% CI:2.04,2.43) while playing the game. In multivariable intent-to-treat analyses of 38 secondary/tertiary outcomes, intervention participants reported significantly larger reductions than control participants in cyberbullying victimization (T2 b=-0.28; 95% CI:-0.56,-0.01), binge drinking frequency (T2 b=-0.39; 95% CI:-0.71,-0.06), and marijuana use frequency (T3 b=-2.78; 95% CI:-4.49,-1.08).
Conclusions: We successfully implemented a Web-accessible game trial with SGMY. The game-based intervention was feasible and acceptable to SGMY, and preliminary results show it improved several health-related behaviors. A larger scale trial is needed to test whether the game-based intervention can reduce health inequities for SGMY.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Gamification
  • LBGT+
  • Help seeking
  • Coping
  • Intervention

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of a web-accessible game-based intervention aimed at improving help seeking and coping among sexual and gender minority youth: results from a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this