A new study out of East Carolina University found that playing casual, non-violent video games - in particular "Bejeweled","Peggle" and "Bookworm" - reduced depression symptoms in study participants.
The study, which was underwritten by PopCap games, found that, of the 59 people who participated in the study, the half that spent an average of 40.7 minutes playing the games had a 57% reduction in their depression symptoms.
The seven subjects who were identified as having moderate to severe depression symptoms prior to study had their symptoms reduced to minimal or mild following the study, while the numbers of those who had milder forms of depression prior to the study dropped from nine to four.
The study found that there was a 65% overall improvement in general mood and anxiety, in addition to a reduction in physical symptoms, such as tension (49.6%), anger (55%), confusion (50%) and fatigue (58%).
In a statement, lead author Dr. Carmen Russoniello said, "The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression."
"In my opinion," Russoniello concluded,"the findings support the possibility of using prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or perhaps even as a replacement for, standard therapies including medication."
Additional information about the study can be found on East Carolina University's website.