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Preventing post-traumatic intrusions using virtual reality.

Page, Sarah and Coxon, Matthew (2017) Preventing post-traumatic intrusions using virtual reality. Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine, 15. pp. 129-134.

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Abstract

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research is of upmost importance given the high lifetime risk of experiencing a traumatic event. While there is a successful treatment protocol for PTSD, there can be delays in access and early interventions are lacking. Recent research has suggested that loading working memory with a visuo-spatial task immediately following a traumatic experience can reduce the frequency and development of intrusive trauma related images. It was hypothesised here that completing a visuo- spatial task in virtual reality could enhance such interventions given its distinct attention capturing ability. 30 non-clinical participants watched a traumatic film, then engaged in Tetris® on a desktop display, in virtual reality, or sat in silence (control condition). Participants kept a diary of intrusions experienced for the next 7 days. Participants in the virtual reality condition recorded significantly less intrusions over the 7 days than those in the no-task control condition. Using virtual reality was also rated as significantly more engaging than the desktop condition and had the secondary gain of significant post-task mood improvement. Although only initial findings, using virtual reality clearly has the potential to be both a more effective and a more appealing intrusion prevention technique following a trauma.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2362

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