Gamification for Older Adults: A Systematic Literature Review

Jonna Koivisto, Aqdas Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background and Objectives: During past years, gamification has become a major trend in technology, and promising results of its effectiveness have been reported. However, prior research has predominantly focused on examining the effects of gamification among young adults, while other demographic groups such as older adults have received less attention. In this review, we synthesize existing scholarly work on the impact of gamification for older adults. Research Design and Methods: A systematic search was conducted using 4 academic databases from inception through January 2019. A rigorous selection process was followed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Results: Twelve empirical peer-reviewed studies written in English, focusing on older adults aged ≥55, including a gameful intervention, and assessing subjective or objective outcomes were identified. Eleven of the 12 studies were conducted in the health domain. Randomized controlled study settings were reported in 8 studies. Positively oriented results were reported in 10 of 12 studies on visual attention rehabilitation, diabetes control, increasing positive emotions for patients with subthreshold depression, cognitive training and memory tests, engagement in training program, perceptions of self-efficacy, motivation and positive emotions of social gameplay conditions, increased physical activity and balancing ability, and increased learning performance and autonomy experiences. The results are, however, mostly weak indications of positive effects. Discussion and Implications: Overall, the studies on gameful interventions for older adults suggest that senior users may benefit from gamification and game-based interventions, especially in the health domain. However, due to methodological shortcomings and limited amount of research available, further work in the area is called for.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E345-E357
JournalGerontologist
Volume61
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Keywords

  • Analysis - literature review
  • Games
  • Information technology
  • Social media/networks

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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