Exergames for Subsyndromal Depression in Older Adults: A Pilot Study of a Novel Intervention
Rosenberg, Dori M.P.H., M.S.; Depp, Colin A. Ph.D.; Vahia, Ipsit V. M.D.; Reichstadt, Jennifer M.S.; Palmer, Barton W. Ph.D.; Kerr, Jacqueline Ph.D.; Norman, Greg Ph.D.; Jeste, Dilip V. M.D.
Objectives: Subsyndromal depression (SSD) is several times more common than major depression in older adults and is associated with significant negative health outcomes. Physical activity can improve depression, but adherence is often poor. The authors assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and short-term efficacy and safety of a novel intervention using exergames (entertaining video games that combine game play with exercise) for SSD in older adults.
Methods: Community-dwelling older adults (N = 19, aged 63–94 years) with SSD participated in a 12-week pilot study (with follow-up at 20–24 weeks) of Nintendo's Wii sports, with three 35-minute sessions a week.
Results: Eight-six percent of enrolled participants completed the 12-week intervention. There was a significant improvement in depressive symptoms, mental health-related quality of life (QoL), and cognitive performance but not physical health-related QoL. There were no major adverse events, and improvement in depression was maintained at follow-up.
Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary indication of the benefits of exergames in seniors with SSD. Randomized controlled trials of exergames for late-life SSD are warranted.