Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Health Sciences

First Advisor

David Thomas


Depression and anxiety are the two most common forms of mental illness that affect people in the U.S. Great strides have been made over the years in improving the mental health of persons with these and other forms of mental illness. Although newer medications such as SSRls can greatly enhance one's quality of life, there are lifestyle behaviors such as exercise and meaningful engagement in activities that have also purported similar positive outcomes. A challenge for health care providers is how to motivate mental health patients to change their behaviors, especially considering the apathy and passivity, typically associated with the illness, may have affected one's ability to initiate such activities.

A novel approach to encourage physical activity could be the use of active video games (AVGs) such as the Xbox Kinect. The advantages of applying video game technology are that it allows active participation on an inpatient unit, and allows portability once a patient is discharged to the community. In addition; if the movement were also associated with a meaningful activity that provides intrinsic satisfaction, then there would be a greater motivation to continue the behavior beyond the institutional setting. This paper is a summary of related research to the use of active video games in the treatment of people with depression and anxiety. Suggestions for the future application of active video games are also provided.