VR to manage psychological distress in adolescents: Study

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A new systemic review found that all studies reported benefits when using virtual reality (VR) to manage psychological distress in adolescents.

According to the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, these benefits occurred across a range of treatment scenarios.

“These preliminary findings suggest VR is a valuable treatment modality for adolescent psychological distress,” said researcher Joshua Kelson from Charles Sturt University.

Adolescents face unique life challenges relating to puberty, schooling, self-identity, intimate relationships, and financial dependence. Adolescence is a critical period for the onset of mental health disorders.

VR is a promising treatment modality for mental health issues. It is a rapidly evolving field that involves the use of immersive computer technology to imbed users into interactive digital worlds.

For the study, a total of 301 articles were retained for full-text evaluation next to eligibility criteria.

The studies included in this report showed that VR interventions can quickly reduce negative symptoms. Both active (playing an interactive game) and passive (watching a movie) VR experiences were therapeutic for distressed adolescents.

Adolescent participants rated their VR experience favorably and attrition rates were low, the study indicated.

The VR technology can provide a safe, rapidly efficacious, and acceptable treatment modality for managing psychological distress in several key adolescent populations, the researchers said.

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