Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Education and Information Technologies




School of Education / School of Science / School of Medical and Health Sciences




The Amanda Young Foundation and Lottery West (2019–00736-BLOOMFIELD)


Andrew, L., Barwood, D., Boston, J., Masek, M., Bloomfield, L., & Devine, A. (2022). Serious games for health promotion in adolescents – A systematic scoping review. Education and Information Technologies. Advance online publication.


Digital gaming has broad appeal globally, with a reported 2.7 billion gamers worldwide. There is significant interest in using games to enhance learning, with ‘serious games’ being included in classrooms to engage adolescents’ learning across a range of domains. A systematic scoping review of serious games used for health promotion with adolescents was conducted to identify serious games, review the methods used to evaluate these games, and outline evidence available to support the efficacy of these games in improving knowledge, beliefs/attitudes and behaviours in the target groups. Player engagement/enjoyment was reported if assessed. A total of 21 studies were found to have met the inclusion criteria domains: ‘healthy lifestyle’ ‘sexual health’ and ‘substance use’. A heterogenous approach across studies to game design and development, duration of game play, use of a control group and measurement of outcome(s) was observed. Game efficacy was difficult to assess due to broad generalisations and lack of consistent evaluation methods. Several studies demonstrate serious games can be engaging and pedagogically effective as a learning device and behaviour-change agent. Several studies, however, had less rigorous evaluation and lacked longer-term follow up. The ability for developers to demonstrate positive short- and long-term impacts of serious games with high-quality evidence is essential to the ongoing acceptance and use of these serious games as part of the school curriculum.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.