Back to overview

Gamification in Health Behavior Change Support Systems - A Synthesis of Unintended Side Effects

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Schmidt-Kraepelin Manuel, Thiebes Scott, Stepanovic Stefan, Mettler Tobias, Suyaev Ali,
Project Physiolytics at the workplace: How to increase motivation of and create value for employees
Show all

Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 14th International Conference Wirtschaftsinformatik
Place Siegen, Germany

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Gamification has become a popular and promising tool to positively impact the usage of health behavior change support systems (HBCSSs). Fun and engaging components are purposefully integrated in the design of HBCSSs in an effort to encourage users to employ the system in a more regular manner or over a longer period of time. Although extant research has made extensive efforts to understand the psychological and behavioral outcomes of gamification, its potential unintended side effects have been mostly neglected. We approached this gap by reviewing 33 articles on gamification in HBCSSs. We identified 16 potential unintended side effects in five categories. By taking a critical view, our research contributes to a more nuanced approach to gamification, which helps to understand how it can be utilized as a valuable tool for developers that motivates and does not harm users of HBCSSs.