Children who played "RAGE Control" had a reduction in anger scores on the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-Child and Adolescent (STAXI-CA)

Children who have anger issues can now channel and correct those feelings with a new video game called "RAGE Control."

"RAGE Control" was developed by Jason Kahn, PhD, and Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, MD, at Boston Children's Hospital. They noticed that children with anger problems were fairly apathetic in traditional psychotherapy, but had a strong interest in video games (as many children do).

This is where "RAGE Control" comes in. It's a video game where children have to shoot enemy spaceships, but hold their fire when friendly spaceships arise in the fast-paced game. In addition, a monitor on one of the children's fingers keeps track of their heart rate as they play, and even displays it on the screen. If their heart rate increases above a certain point, they can no longer shoot the gun. They must calm themselves before regaining the ability to shoot.

The study, which was led by other Boston Children's Hospital researcher Peter Ducharme, collected two groups of children from ages 9-17. The children in both groups were admitted to the hospital's Psychiatry Inpatient Service for anger issues.

One group of 19 children had five consecutive days of cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training and relaxation techniques. The second group of 18 children had the same exact treatments, but an added 15 minutes of "RAGE Control" per session.

According to results, the group allowed to play "RAGE Control" had a reduction in anger scores on the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-Child and Adolescent (STAXI-CA) in frequency of anger over time, expression of anger toward people or objects, and intensity of anger at a particular time.

"Kids reported feeling better control of their emotions when encountering day to day frustrations on the unit," said Ducharme. "While this was a pilot study, and we weren't able to follow the kids after they were discharged, we think the game will help them control their emotions in other environments."

From here on out, the researchers will continue building on this study and develop other video games that can be helpful. One such game pairs adults and children with anger problems, where if one's heart rate increases above a certain level, neither gun will shoot in the game. This force's one to calm the other.

Source: Eurekalert

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