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Automated virtual reality exposure therapy for spider phobia vs. in-vivo one-session treatment: A randomized non-inferiority trial
Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
Stockholm Univ, Sweden; Karolinska Inst, Sweden; Stockholm Hlth Care Serv, Sweden.
Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
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2019 (English)In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, ISSN 0005-7967, E-ISSN 1873-622X, Vol. 118, p. 130-140Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective This study compared the efficacy of a technician-assisted single-session virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) for the treatment of spider phobia featuring low-cost consumer-available hardware and novel automated software to gold-standard in-vivo one-session treatment (OST), using a parallel group randomized non-inferiority design.

Method Participants (N = 100) were randomized to VRET and OST arms. Assessors blinded to treatment allocation evaluated participants at pre- and post-treatment as well follow-up (3 and 12 months) using a behavioral approach test (BAT) and self-rated fear of spider, anxiety, depression and quality-of-life scales. A maximum post-treatment difference of 2-points on the BAT qualified as non-inferiority margin.

Results Linear mixed models noted large, significant reductions in behavioral avoidance and self-reported fear in both groups at post-treatment, with VRET approaching the strong treatment benefits of OST over time. Non-inferiority was identified at 3- and 12- months follow-up but was significantly worse until 12-months. There was no significant difference on a questionnaire measuring negative effects.

Conclusions Automated VRET efficaciously reduced spider phobia symptoms in the short-term and was non-inferior to in-vivo exposure therapy in the long-term. VRET effectiveness trials are warranted to evaluate real-world benefits and non-specific therapeutic factors accruing from the presence of a technician during treatment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 118, p. 130-140
Keywords [en]
Exposure therapy; One-session treatment; Virtual reality; Spider phobia
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-158843DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2019.04.004ISI: 000471738600014PubMedID: 31075675Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85065126648OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-158843DiVA, id: diva2:1337651
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Government innovation agency Vinnova

Available from: 2019-07-16 Created: 2019-07-16 Last updated: 2020-05-01Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Gerhard

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