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Moderating effects of presence and adherence in internetbased CBT with virtual reality exposure therapy for public speaking anxiety
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
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2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Previous research has revealed that Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) is an effective method for reducing symptoms of public speaking anxiety (PSA). Research about presence in the virtual environment indicates a moderating effect on physiological arousal, but more ambiguous effect on treatment effects where some research indicates a small effect while other indicate no effect. Furthermore, previous research has found adherence to home work assignments to moderate treatment outcome. In this treatment study which aimed for treating public speaking anxiety with VRET and a internetbased CBT-program, we investigated whether presence in the virtual environment and adherence to home work moderated treatment effects.

Methods: N=25 adult participants from the general public with clinically significant PSA were recruited to a wait-list to another study. After five weeks on waitlist, they started the treatment with a self-guided in virtuo exposure session followed by a four week online maintenance promoting in-vivo exposure. Participants got a simple VR headset by post. The three-hour exposure session included psychoeducation in text, and the participants conducted speech exercises, framed as behavioral experiments targeting idiosyncratic catastrophic beliefs, in front of virtual audiences, and listening to audio recording afterwards. Primary outcome measure was self-reported PSA. To measure moderating effects of presence on the primary outcome measure a self-reported validated scale with subscales for presence (iGroup Presence Questionnaire, IPQ) were used, and for adherence a score were manually calculated based on the number of completed home-work assignments in both a linear model and a binary model dividing participants in two groups: one with at least one completed home work assignment and one with no completed home work assignment. The analysis on presence included both the effects of the VRET-session alone and in combination with the internetbased CBT-program. Data were analyzed using mixed effects modeling.

Results: No significant results were found in moderating effects of presence with its subscales on the primary outcome measure for either the VRET-session (p = .375-.616) nor in combination with the internetbased CBT-program (p = .454 - .877). Moderating effects of adherence on primary outcome measure neither revealed no significant results in the linear model (p = .368) nor the binary model (p = .113).

Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate, in line with some previous research, that presence in the virtual environment has no significant moderating effect on treatment outcome. Furthermore, in contrast to previous research, this study found no significant moderating effect on adherence to home work assignments on primary treatment outcome. Internal- and external validity and other potential explanations are discussed in detail in the poster.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 23-24 p.
Keyword [en]
ICBT, VR, virtual reality, PSA, public speaking anxiety, treatment effects
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149195DiVA: diva2:1158634
Conference
9th Swedish Congress on internet interventions (SWEsrii), Linköping, Sweden, November 3, 2017
Available from: 2017-11-20 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2017-11-27Bibliographically approved

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