Trans and gender diverse young people's attitudes towards game-based digital mental health interventions: A qualitative investigation

Penelope Strauss, Helen Morgan, Dani Wright Toussaint, Ashleigh Lin, Sam Winter, Yael Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Trans and gender diverse (TGD) young people are at high risk for mental health difficulties. Previous research has shown that three in four TGD young people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and/or depression and almost one in two have attempted suicide. TGD young people experience barriers to traditional mental health services, commonly faced with inexperienced providers and discrimination. Video and computer games, as well as online spaces, are sources of resilience for TGD young people. Digital mental health interventions are a feasible, but understudied, approach to consider for this population. Methods: N = 14 TGD young people aged 11–18 years were recruited to take part in focus groups as part of a multistage project. The focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a general inductive thematic analysis approach. This paper reports on their attitudes towards digital games and game-based digital mental health interventions. Discussion: Aspects of game-based digital mental health interventions should be inclusive of diverse genders and sexuality, moderated appropriately and include content such as storylines and characters who are of diverse sexualities and/or gender. Participants were of the opinion that games should be preventative rather than treatment-focused; however, considering the high rate of mental health difficulties in this population, interventions should ideally address symptoms along the continuum from sub-clinical to clinical.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100280
JournalInternet Interventions
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2019

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