Game Research Special Interest Group: Healthy Play, Better Coping

The role of gaming and play in the development of chronically ill children

Motivation and Impact

Children with chronic conditions constitute at least 15% of the Dutch population. Many studies have shown that children with chronic conditions are at a greater risk for poor mental health and social problems, like depressive symptoms, anxiety and loneliness, compared to their healthy peers. For children (social) play is of vital importance; it offers clear benefits regarding social and emotional health and development. As an overarching objective of this , we will investigate to what extent stimulating or modifying play behaviour through applied games can enhance the adaptability of a child to a (chronic) stressful condition.


Intervention on the stressful condition of a chronic disease asks through applied games enables us to promote active coping styles. We also expect effects in the long term, such as increased resilience, better social development, and establishing better coping strategies resulting in better mental health for chronically ill children.

The reserach on games for the development of chronically ill children includes, but is not limited to:

  • Design reseach in co-creation with game designers, researchers, pediatricians, and children.
  • Effectiveness of the game mechanics and in-play activities.
  • Computational infrastructure for data collection for measuring targeted outcomes.
  • Effect of player types and personality traints.

Team members

  • Dio Alexandridis, Sander Bakkes, Ronald Poppe, Remco Veltkamp (Information and Computing Sciences, Faculty of Sciences)
  • Sanne Nijhof, Elise van de Putte, Kors van de Ent (WKZ, UMCU)
  • Heidi Lesscher (Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine)



This SIG is part of the Dynamics of Youth hub Healthy Play, Better Coping.The following projects at the Center for Game Research are related to this special interest group.