The effects of incorporating a virtual agent in a computer-aided test designed for stress management education: The mediating role of enjoyment

Seunga Jin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Drawing upon the Entertainment-Education paradigm, this study evaluated the effectiveness of a computer-aided interactive test designed for stress management education targeting college students. The presence (vs. absence) of a virtual agent incorporated into the interactive test was proposed as the key factor that induces enjoyment and educational outcomes. The interactive test consisted of scenarios describing stressful situations that could occur in college students' everyday lives. Furthermore, college students could relate the concerns raised by these hypothetical situations to the ways they manage their stress and mental health. After the student's choice behavior in each scenario, a virtual agent conveyed health-related educational messages via a text-modal dialogue box. Participants who took the interactive test in which there was a virtual agent perceived the test as more educational and entertaining than those who took the test without a virtual agent. Results of a path analysis also revealed a significant mediating role of enjoyment on educational outcomes (i.e., students' enjoyment of the interactive test mediated the effects of the presence of a virtual agent on their perceived educational value of health information), thus confirming the Entertainment-Education link. In addition, engaging in the interactive test resulted in stress management self-efficacy improvement. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2010



  • Entertainment-Education
  • Interactive test
  • Mediating role of enjoyment
  • Stress management
  • Virtual agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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