Background: The use of video games has shown benefits for the ageing population. This paper studies the cognitive effects of video games on the elderly, as well as these effects on self-concept and quality of life. The mediator effect of self-concept is also evaluated. The instruments used are the Cognitive Subscale of Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog), the Clinical Inventory of Self-Concept (ICAC) and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Questionnaire (WHOQOL-bref).
Methods: The study involved the participation of 43 elderly people distributed between three experimental conditions (15 used video games, 17 relaxation and 11 had no intervention). There were two periods of assessment, before the intervention and after 8 weeks.
Results: It was found that the participants who used video games showed a decline in cognitive deterioration, unlike the control groups. The self-concept measure deteriorated significantly under relaxation condition and on the passive control group. The quality of life test did not show any differences. Nor were any correlations found between the time of use of video games and larger effects. The mediator effect of self-concept on differences obtained in the ADAS-Cog (r=0.57, p=0.014) and in the ICA (r=−0.039) was confirmed.
Conclusions: In summary, the results show that the use of video games leads to the improvement of cognitive functioning in the elderly and to the maintenance of self-concept and quality of life. The results also suggest that the higher the self-concept, the better the cognitive effects achieved.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York