Rebuttal – InspireAngels

Can Crosswords Puzzles Truly Be Harmful To A Victim of An Eating Disorder?

In society, every game has some effect on those who use the game constantly, whether these games are beneficial or detrimental to the individual’s brain is debatable. Critics may argue that crossword puzzles provide more anxiety, frustration, and lack of productivity to victims of eating disorders however these folks fail to recognize the motivation, cognitive skills, and self-regulating strategies that these mental games supply to these individuals. Additionally, if they bother to be aware of the many studies on mental games, they would acknowledge that mental games like crossword puzzles have assisted individuals more in easing their mental state rather than causing distress. They focus more on the possible short-term damage crosswords puzzle have on certain individuals’ brains instead of viewing the benefits it could also have on these victims’ mental states both in the long term and short term.

A person picks up a crossword puzzle and sits on the couch for hours to immerse in this puzzle, trying to figure out the next possible word that they got distracted from doing their tasks of the day to complete the crossword puzzle. In retrospect this might seem like a major problem for individuals if they are trying to be productive for the day however for victims of eating disorders, this can be quite helpful in distracting them from having the urge to binge on food from the kitchen. Victims of eating disorders are in a constant battle with their brains on consuming food that it is already difficult enough for them to get tasks done without their brains being filled with negative thoughts about their weight. Crossword puzzles can distract individuals from their daily responsibilities however this distraction works in the favor of those with an eating disorder since they can shift their focus on the crossword puzzle in front of them instead of their negative thoughts. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that these folks will still have responsibilities to do after they are done with the crossword puzzle but an easy fix to this problem would be setting a schedule to place in a time to do this puzzle or doing the puzzle in the evening or night once the majority of their tasks are done. This way not only will they not have to worry about their responsibilities afterward but they get to reward themselves with a stress relieving treat to ease their brain for the night.

It could also be said by commentators that these puzzles are time-consuming to the individual leading to one’s frustration when trying to complete the puzzle. Although it states in Predictors of crossword puzzle proficiency and Moderators of age–cognition relations that the failure to solve words items from a crossword puzzle could be due to the solver’s lack of knowledge necessary to identify its target or just the use of ineffective strategies to retrieve information from memory, one can argue that overtime these cognitive skills can be strengthened if crossword puzzle is used constantly through their day to day life. As a means to not get the individual completely immersed or frustrated towards the crossword, one can set a timer or stop once they are stuck on a word for too long. Another solution for this is having a dictionary or reference on the side nearby in case the solver is stuck on a word. In the article, Crossword Puzzles: Adjunct clinical teaching strategy writers claim that if these crossword puzzles are being used as a way to obtain knowledge on a subject then it’s hard to find already made puzzles for the individual or it can take way too long to make puzzle on your own. While both of these reasons are justifiable, a quick fix can be applied to these issues. An alter solution could be using an online public website or app to construct your puzzle in less than 15 minutes. This way it could be used as a reinforcement of strategies that could be used by the victims of eating disorders.

The solver is given unnecessary anxiety. Games as an Innovative Teaching Strategy for Overactive Bladder And BPH, an article written by LeCroy Cheryl insist that one of the biggest disadvantages of crosswords puzzle is that these puzzles can “become threatening or too stressful” on the solver. It was mentioned that the possible space constraints and increase time spent on a single word can cause the solver to fill distress or anxiety. While all of these points can be acknowledged, it could also be said that a way around this can be that the solver can take a break from the crossword puzzle and come back to the puzzle later. In this way as well, the individual is practicing a self-regulating strategy by knowing when to put the puzzle down when it gets too stressful for them. It’s a good way to practice the solver’s cognitive skills. Apart from being a self-regulating strategy, the crossword puzzler can reinforce their reasoning abilities since there tend to be a lot of misleading clues in these puzzles. Over time the solver may acquire the ability to work within multiple constraints forced by the puzzle’s grid without causing unnecessary anxiety. Later this can boost the solver’s motivation to continue the crossword puzzle.

  No game is perfect, whether it be mind games or just regular games. Games will always have some kind of effect on the individual. In any case, they can favorable or damaging to victims of eating disorders and can have a short or long impactful effect on them as well. Although it is easy to claim that these crossword puzzles can lead to anxiety, frustration, and a lack of productivity for the solver when examine more closely individuals can find these puzzles to be motivating and assist in improving their cognitive skills and self-regulating strategies. These skills and strategies can help individuals with eating disorders exercise healthy strategies and provide a positive mood for that individual as well. Crossword puzzles can be more of help than one thinks.


Hambrick, D. Z., Salthouse, T. A., & Meinz, E. J. (1999). Predictors of crossword puzzle proficiency and moderators of age–cognition relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128(2), 131-164. doi:

LeCroy, C. (2006). Games as an innovative teaching strategy for overactive bladder and BPH. Urologic Nursing, 26(5), 381-4, 393. Retrieved from

Poston, Iona,R.N., PhD. (1998). Crossword puzzles: Adjunct clinical teaching strategy. Journal of Nursing Education, 37(6), 266-267. Retrieved from

Saxena, A., Nesbitt, R., Pahwa, P., & Mills, S. (2009). Crossword puzzles: Active learning in undergraduate pathology and medical education. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, 133(9), 1457–1462.

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