Cited 2 times since 2020 (0.6 per year) source: EuropePMC Journal of medical Internet research, Volume 22, Issue 7, 24 4 2020, Pages e14861 An Internet-Based Psychological Intervention With a Serious Game to Improve Vitality, Psychological and Physical Condition, and Immune Function in Healthy Male Adults: Randomized Controlled Trial. Schakel L, Veldhuijzen DS, van Middendorp H, Prins C, Drittij AMHF, Vrieling F, Visser LG, Ottenhoff THM, Joosten SA, Evers AWM


Recently, internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) and serious gaming interventions have been suggested to enhance accessibility to interventions and engagement in psychological interventions that aim to promote health outcomes. Few studies, however, have investigated their effectiveness in the context of simulated real-life challenges.


We aimed to examine the effectivity of a guided ICBT combined with a serious gaming intervention in improving self-reported psychophysiological and immunological health endpoints in response to psychophysiological and immune-related challenges.


Sixty-nine healthy men were randomly assigned to the intervention condition, receiving ICBT combined with serious gaming for 6 weeks, or the control condition, receiving no intervention. Self-reported vitality was the primary endpoint. Other self-reported psychophysiological and immunological endpoints were assessed following various challenges, including a bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination evoking pro-inflammatory responses, 1 and 4 weeks after the intervention period.


Although the intervention did not affect vitality-associated parameters, self-reported sleep problems (P=.027) and bodily sensations (P=.042) were lower directly after the intervention compared with controls. Furthermore, wellbeing (P=.024) was higher in the intervention group after the psychophysiological challenges. Although no significant group differences were found for the psychophysiological and immunological endpoints, the data provided preliminary support for increased immunoglobulin antibody responses at the follow-up time points (P<.05). Differential chemokine endpoints between conditions were observed at the end of the test day.


The present study provides some support for improving health endpoints with an innovative ICBT intervention. Future research should replicate and further extend the present findings by consistently including challenges and a wide range of immune parameters into the study design.

Trial registration

Nederlands Trial Register NTR5610;

J Med Internet Res. 2020 7;22(7):e14861