The effectiveness of a digital game to improve public perception of dementia: A pretest-posttest evaluation

PLoS One. 2021 Oct 8;16(10):e0257337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257337. eCollection 2021.


The global impact of dementia is a key healthcare priority, and although it is possible to live well with dementia, public perception is often negative. Serious digital games are becoming a credible delivery method to educate/train individuals in the business and health sectors and to challenge perceptions. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital game prototype on individual attitudes towards dementia. A digital game to improve public knowledge and understanding about dementia ( was co-designed with people living with dementia and student nurses. The Game was evaluated using a pretest-posttest design. Participants for the evaluation were recruited via social media in one UK university and completed the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire (ADQ) before and after playing the game. Overall, 457 individuals completed both pre and post test questionnaires. The total ADQ score demonstrated a significant improvement in positive attitudes (p < 0.001), and both subscales of Hope and Recognition of Personhood also saw significant improvements (p < 0.001). The use of a serious digital game has demonstrated a significant effect on the respondents' perceptions of dementia. Overall, there was a more positive view of the abilities of people with dementia and what their capabilities were. They were also more likely to be recognised as unique individuals with the same values as any other person. The benefit of using digital gaming to improve perceptions of dementia has been demonstrated, nonetheless further research is required to reach a more diverse population and test as a Randomised Control Trial to provide definitive evidence for use in policy and practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion
  • Students, Nursing
  • Video Games*
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

Award received by CBW, GM & GC. This study was financially supported by the Dementia Services Development Trust. The funders did not participate in study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation of data and manuscript writing. The content of the manuscript is solely the responsibility of authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Dementia Services Development Trust.