Social Anxiety Strategies Through Gaming

Copeman, Matthew and Freeman, Jonathan. 2022. 'Social Anxiety Strategies Through Gaming'. In: HCI in Games. HCII 2022. Virtual Event 26 June - 1 July 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

Copeman Freeman doi10.1007.978-3-031-05637-6_19.pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract or Description

Anxiety and depression cases have trebled within the last decade [1], with diagnoses of social anxiety disorder increasing the most. With such an escalation in care needed, and the ever-struggling mental health service, a new approach to affective mental health options is imperative. The aim of this research was to highlight common, mainstream video games as potential strategies for those struggling with social anxiety disorder, and to understand how these games help sufferers. This was displayed by demonstrating themes in games that those with social anxiety disorder played. The study used a participation selection model mixed method approach utilising the Leibowitz social anxiety scale to invite participants with high social anxiety scores back to interview. Firstly, quantitative results showed that the Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scale maintains reliability in detecting those at risk of clinical diagnoses, being able to significantly predict a clinical diagnosis from a higher score, with younger age groups showing more risk, though this latter finding was a statistically non-significant trend. Qualitative findings showed four main themes were identified when carrying out thematic analysis: the day has been hard for mental health, short solo breaks of play, helping with mental health and growing as a person with game genres including colony or role-playing games. Future research suggests a move to a transdiagnostic approach to anxiety disorders with an early-stage intervention model utilising video games with the themes uncovered. This would aim to improve access to young adolescents and increase uptake of clinical mental health provisions while offering self-directed care in the first instance.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Additional Information:

“This version of the contribution has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: Use of this Accepted Version is subject to the publisher’s Accepted Manuscript terms of use”.


Video Games, Social Anxiety, Transdiagnostic

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16 April 2022Accepted
16 June 2022Published

Event Location:

Virtual Event

Date range:

26 June - 1 July 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

11 Jul 2022 08:50

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2023 01:26


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