Active Videogaming in Youth with Physical Disability: Gameplay and Enjoyment

Academic Article


  • Objective: For active videogaming (AVG) to be a meaningful, health-enhancing physical activity option for youth with physical disability, factors related to game performance and enjoyment must be understood. The objective was to explore associations between quality of gameplay, controller usage, heart rate (HR), physical function, and enjoyment during AVG play in youth with physical disability. Methods: Participants (5 girls, 11 boys, mean age 13.8 ± 2.7 years) played four AVGs on three platforms (Nintendo ® Wii™, Sony PlayStation3 Move, and Microsoft Xbox ® Kinect), across three sessions. Participants' primary means of mobility were manual (n = 13) and power (n = 3) wheelchairs; majority were diagnosed with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Functional level was assessed using 17 International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health mobility items. Participants played each AVG for 8 minutes with a 5-minute rest. Quality of gameplay and ability to use controller were recorded on a five-point Likert scale. HR was recorded immediately following each game and participants completed the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). PACES scores were compared across games and correlations were examined among the variables. Results: PACES scores were significantly greater for Wii Punch-Out compared to Xbox Fitness, Sports Rivals, and Zumba, and for PS3 Sports Champions compared to Xbox Zumba. Higher HR was associated with higher quality of gameplay and a higher PACES score. As quality of gameplay increased, the PACES score increased. Conclusion: Game performance and exercise intensity were positively correlated with AVG enjoyment in youth with physical disability, specifically mobility impairments. Further research is warranted to examine the capacity of AVG play to be an enjoyable health-enhancing activity for individuals with physical disability.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Malone LA; Rowland JL; Rogers R; Mehta T; Padalabalanarayanan S; Thirumalai M; Rimmer JH
  • Start Page

  • 333
  • End Page

  • 341
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 5