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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Game narratives among adolescents of different game-play and socio-demographic backgrounds

Author
item Schwarz, Ayla - GHENT UNIVERSITY
item Mertens, Lieze - GHENT UNIVERSITY
item Simons, Monique - UTRECHT UNIVERSITY
item Spook, Jorinde - WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Cardon, Greet - GHENT UNIVERSITY
item De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse - GHENT UNIVERSITY
item Chastin, Sebastien - GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY
item Desmet, Ann - GHENT UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2018
Publication Date: 7/4/2018
Citation: Schwarz, A., Mertens, L., Simons, M., Spook, J., Thompson, D.J., Cardon, G., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Chastin, S., Desmet, A. 2018. Game narratives among adolescents of different game-play and socio-demographic backgrounds [abstract]. Narrative Matters (NM) 2018 Conference: The ABCs of Narrative. July 2-5, 2018; Enschede, The Netherlands. Oral Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Digital games hold great potential for health interventions. Their narratives may influence game engagement, enjoyment and players' behavioral determinants. Research is needed on which narratives are appealing to target groups of health interventions that make use of a serious digital game for health. The aim of this study was to investigate which narrative elements are important to sub groups of the adolescent population, differentiated according to gender, education and frequency of game-play. It is aimed to also address those who do not regularly play digital games or who are currently not attracted to play digital games. Adolescents (n=446) completed a survey assessing narrative preferences in digital games. Socio-demographic factors, frequency of game-play and the creation of an appealing narrative were assessed. Relationships between narrative elements and player characteristics were determined using chi-square analyses. Girls more often defined characters by their age, included avatars, located the narrative in a building, developed skills and integrated a positive atmosphere. Adolescents of non-academic education more often defined characters by their age, or criminal actions, and integrated a positive atmosphere. Infrequent players more often integrated human characters and defined them by their age. A storytelling approach that is highly customizable to the target group appears to be an important method for addressing different game narrative preferences and increasing the reach of serious digital games for health. This study informs game developers and health professionals, who increasingly work together.