Evaluating the quality of reporting exergaming interventions: What about well-being outcomes?


Exergaming is a unique technology that uses conventional video games with motion-sensor apparatus (Chao et al., 2015). While the physical health benefits of exergaming have been well documented in the literature (e.g., Tahmosybayat et al; 2018), its role in promoting well-being remains equivocal (e.g., Santen et al., 2018). One reason for the weak evidence supporting the exergaming-well-being link may be linked to the quality of information reported by study authors which holds implications for knowledge translation. The purpose of this study was to use the Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT; Slade et al., 2017) to appraise current reporting practices in exergaming research focused on promoting well-being in adults. A systematic search process resulted in 36 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Total scores for 16-item CERT checklist compliance were calculated (M = 6.47; SD = 2.88). Twelve CERT items fell below the moderate reporting standards cutpoint (i.e., <= 50.0%). Notably absent in the published studies were details linked to intervention specificity (e.g., duration) as 69.4% (n = 25) failed to report this information. Decision rules were not reported in 77.8% (n = 28) of the published studies. Qualification of the exercise program providers was absent in 22 studies (61.1%) and approximately half (55.6%) did not report whether the intervention was supervised. Poor reporting of exergaming interventions makes study replication difficult and conclusions regarding the well-being benefits of exergaming in adults challenging. Researchers implementing exergaming interventions are encouraged to adopt CERT standards to promote study reporting and ultimately knowledge translation.

Acknowledgments: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Ontario Trillium Scholarship Fund.