A systematic review of computerised serious educational games about alcohol and other drugs for adolescents
- Daniel M. Rodriguez BSc-Psych (Hons), Research Assistant, Maree Teesson PhD, Professor, Nicola C. Newton PhD, Senior Research fellow.
Serious educational games (SEG) have been shown to be effective in educating young people about a range of topics, including languages and maths. This paper identifies the use of computerised SEGs in education about alcohol and other drugs and reviews their impact on the prevention of alcohol and drug use.
The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, ERIC, Scopus, psychINFO, pubMED and DRUG databases were searched in February 2013. Additional publications were obtained from the reference lists of the relevant papers. Studies were included if they described an evaluation of a computerised SEG that targeted alcohol and/or other drugs and had been trialled with adolescents.
Eight SEGs were identified targeting tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine, ecstasy, inhalants, cocaine and opioids. Six reported positive outcomes in terms of increased content knowledge and two reported increased negative attitudes towards the targeted drugs. Only one reported a decrease in the frequency of drug use.
Implications and Conclusion
This is the first review of the efficacy of computerised SEGs for alcohol and other drugs for adolescents. Results suggest that SEGs can increase content knowledge of alcohol and other drugs. Evidence concerning impacts on negative attitudes and alcohol and drug use is limited, with few studies examining these outcomes.