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Impact of a Serious Game for Health on Chronic Disease Self-Management: Preliminary Efficacy among Community Dwelling Adults with Hypertension

Published in JHHSA, Vol. 38 No. 2

Most Americans will acquire a chronic disease during their lifetime. One of the most prevalent chronic diseases that affect Americans is hypertension (HTN). Despite the known comorbidities and increased mortality rate associated with uncontrolled HTN, most community dwelling adults with HTN do not have sufficient blood pressure control. Therefore, the aim of this article is to report the preliminary efficacy of a serious game for health to enhance blood pressure control among community dwelling adults with HTN. A nonprobability sample of 116 community dwelling adults with HTN participated in this nonblinded, randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomly assigned to: (1) an intervention arm that consisted of four exposures to a serious game for health known as eSMART-HD; or (2) an attentional control arm that compromised of four exposures to screen-based HTN education. The primary outcome measure for this trial was blood pressure reduction over a four month observational period. In this study, baseline characteristics and blood pressure measurements were similar between participants in each study arm. There was no significant between-group difference in blood pressure reduction over time. However, there were significant within-group reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures across time among favoring participants exposed to eSMART-HD. This study establishes the preliminary efficacy of eSMART-HD that can be easily administered to community dwelling adults and facilitate clinically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Future studies should assess the influential components of this promising serious game for health (eSMART-HD) combined with medication management in larger and more diverse samples of community dwelling adults with HTN.

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