Pokémon Go may improve psychological distress
In the study sample of 2,530 workers, who had accomplished both the baseline and the follow-up online self-report questionnaires, after the game’s release, 9.7 percent (n=246; mean age 37.09±10.85 years) had continued playing the game for longer than 1 month. Those who refused to respond for unknown reasons and who had lost their jobs were excluded.
Generalized linear models revealed a significant effect of time on psychological distress (p=0.025) where distress improved over time. Participants who remained playing showed greater improvements (baseline estimated mean 42.00±0.64; follow-up estimated mean 39.86±0.67) compared with those who discontinued play (baseline estimated mean 40.38±0.21; follow-up estimated mean 40.40±0.22).
On the other hand, time had no significant effect on the secondary outcomes of physical complaints (p=0.447) and work performance (p=0.377).
However, despite being statistically insignificant, continued Pokémon GO play yielded improvements in physical complaints (estimated means from baseline to follow-up 20.85±0.43 to 20.32±0.45) and reductions in work performance (estimated means from baseline to follow-up 59.70±1.13 to 57.87±1.14).
The Cohen’s d values, at 95 percent CI, of psychological distress, physical complaints and work performance were -0.20 (-0.33 to -0.07), -0.07 (-0.20 to 0.07) and -0.07 (-0.21 to 0.06), respectively, confirming the relatively higher significance of psychological distress.