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Automated virtual reality exposure therapy for spider phobia vs. in-vivo one-session treatment: A randomized non-inferiority trial
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3061-501X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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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]

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. ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02533310).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 118, p. 130-140
Keywords [en]
exposure therapy, one-session treatment, virtual reality, spider phobia
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168841DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2019.04.004ISI: 000471738600014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168841DiVA, id: diva2:1315018
Available from: 2019-05-10 Created: 2019-05-10 Last updated: 2019-07-22Bibliographically approved

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