A new systemic review found that all studies reported benefits when using virtual reality (VR) to treat anxiety in adolescents. According to the peer-reviewed journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking These benefits were found in a variety of treatment scenarios.
Adolescents are faced with unique challenges in puberty, schooling and financial dependence. Adolescence is a critical period for the development of mental health problems.
Virtual reality is a promising treatment option for mental health problems. It is a rapidly growing field that utilizes immersive computer technology to immerse users in interactive digital worlds.
These studies proved that VR interventions can decrease negative symptoms quickly. Both active (playing an interactive game) as well as passive (watching movies) VR experiences were therapeutic for troubled adolescents. The VR experience was rated by participants extremely and attrition rates were low.
“These preliminary findings suggest VR could be a beneficial treatment modality to adolescent mental distress,” states Joshua Kelson PhD, PhD from Charles Sturt University and coauthors. However, the inability to conduct controlled studies of high-quality and the heterogeneity of existing studies limit the effectiveness of VR in addressing stress among adolescents.
As a clinical psychologist I’ve noticed that teenagers who grew up with digital technology are eager to utilize VR for training, education, therapy, and therapy. It’s a natural way to learn and practice new skills. This review reveals that there is an urgent need for more thorough research into this new field.
Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD MBA, BCB, BCN, Editor-in-Chief Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium
Kelson, J.N., et al. (2021) The Use of Virtual Reality for managing psychological Distress in adolescents: A Systematic Review. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2021.0090.
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