East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies has announced the results of a PopCap underwritten study claiming that casual games have a demonstrative affect at relieving stress and improving moods.
The academic group underwent a "six-month long, randomized, controlled study" measuring the impact of three PopCap games -- Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures.
Amongst the group's findings was that Bejeweled had a 54 percent stress-reducing affect on test subjects, while Peggle was found to raise mood levels by 573 percent, something that study director Dr. Carmen Russoniello called "not surprising... given the game’s over-the-top celebration of players’ success each time they complete a level."
Elsewhere in the study, the group found that all three games reduced depression levels by between 45 percent and 37 percent, with Peggle having the most effect, and the most affect on fatigue, reducing levels by 61 percent.
The group says full results of the study will be presented at the forthcoming May 8th Games for Health Conference, and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.
Said Russoniello, "The results of this study are impressive and intriguing, given the extent of the effects of the games on subjects’ stress levels and overall mood. When coupled with the very high degree of confidence we have in those results based on the methodology and technologies used, I believe there is a wide range of therapeutic applications of casual games in mood-related disorders such as depression and in stress-related disorders including diabetes and cardiovascular disease."