Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation

Volume 1, Issue 2, Spring 2008

Abstracts

 

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 127-146

A GAME A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY: A SHORT REVIEW OF COMPUTER GAMES IN MENTAL HEALTHCARE

L. Gamberini, G. Barresi, A. Majer, F. Scarpetta

 

Computer games are currently a focal topic in different research areas. One of the emerging contexts for their

use is represented by healthcare. Thanks to their potentialities, they have been successfully exploited in this

domain to foster motivation and to enhance cognitive processes. This paper proposes a review of existing

research on computer games, exploited for prevention, support, training, rehabilitation, and particularly

stressing the relationship between cognitive processes and gaming. 

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 147-158

A VIRTUAL REALITY BEHAVIOR AVOIDANCE TEST (VR-BAT) FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF SPIDER PHOBIA

A. Mühlberger, M. Sperber, M. J. Wieser, P. Pauli

 

Lang and colleagues postulated that fear responses must be described on three levels: subjective-cognitive,

physiological, and behavioral. However, in-vivo assessments of fear in phobic situations are complex, difficult

to control, and frequently associated with methodological problems. The present studies used a virtual

reality spider scenario for a behavior avoidance test (VR-BAT). Subjective anxiety, symptoms, heart rate (HR),

skin conductance (SCL), and approach behavior were measured in 34 female spider-phobic participants

during two VR-BATs and during eight exposure trials in-between. The distance and fear ratings decreased

from the first to the second VR-BAT and during the exposure trials. Interestingly, HR and SCL increased

during the exposure trials and HR even between the first to the second VR-BAT. Physiological measures,

fear ratings and approach were only partially associated, but approach and fear measures correlated with

psychometric measures of spider phobia. The virtual reality scenario seems feasible for the behavioral and

physiological assessment of fear.

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 159-173

 THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN SUPPORTING A STRESS MANAGEMENT PROTOCOL: AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY

D. Villani, G. Riva

 

Stress management (SM) is a term widely used with a seemingly obvious meaning but it is not clear how

many different forms of SM exist and how efficacious they are according to the target problem. Stress is a

multidimensional condition and we believe that it requires a wide-spectrum approach. We consider that a

combination of stress management techniques can produce more significant outcomes than did single-strategy

programs. For this reason we propose an integration of three approaches to cope with stress and improve

emotional management from different points of view: the Emotion Focused Therapy; the Behavioral Therapy,

and in particular Relaxation; the Rational Emotive Therapy.

In particular, we decided to use two mediated experiences – audio and immersive 3D video - to support the

Relaxation phase. The critical role in mediated experiences is played by the sense of presence that allows the

experience to evoke the same perceptual reactions and emotions as a real one.

To verify the efficacy of the SM protocol we carried out a controlled trial, comparing an experimental Video

group, an Audio group (that only listened to the relaxing narrative), and a control group without treatment.

Results showed the efficacy of integrating different approaches to cope with stress and suggested the importance of the sense of presence as a mediating variable between the experience and the efficacy of the relaxation process.

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 174-181

LOW-COST VIRTUAL MOTOR REHABILITATION FOR NEUROPHYSICAL DISABILITY IMPROVEMENTS IN IMPAIRED PATIENTS 

M. Alcaniz, Gil, J.A., Chirivella, J., Noé, E., Colomer, C., Ferri, J. 

 

Motor rehabilitation needs, in most cases, specialists that indicate exercises to do, and, generally, the specialist

must follow the patient most of the time. Moreover, there are not objective measures to evaluate in detail

the correction of exercises and the exercises patient’s evolution. To improve the motor rehabilitation process,

we present a new low-cost system that allows in the first stage, the use of last generation tools for the development of customizable standing exercises. This new system is being validated in an important rehabilitation center with very promising results. The first validations that are taking place indicate that it contributes with important improvements, permitting a smallest dependence of the patient in relation to the specialist, providing objective measures of evolution of the patients in the realization of exercises, and increasing the motivation of the patients in the rehabilitation process. 

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 182-192

NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND RELAXATION: AN EXPLORATIVE STUDY ON OBESE PATIENTS WITH EMOTIONAL EATING 

G. M. Manzoni, A. Gorini, A. Preziosa, F. Pagnini, G. Castelnuovo, E. Molinari, G. Riva 

 

Since stress and negative emotions are critical factors in inducing overeating in obese patients, psychological

and behavioural interventions for obesity should include stress management techniques. A three weeks relaxation protocol supported by the use of new technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and portable mp3 players, was developed in order to reduce stress and related emotional eating episodes in obese patients. Sixty

female obese inpatients reporting emotional eating were included in the study and divided in three experimental groups (virtual reality-VR, imaginative-IM and waiting list). Psychometric and physiological variables were collected. Results show that relaxation training was effective in improving perceived self efficacy in eating control, as well as in decreasing depressive symptoms, anxiety and physiological arousal both in the VR and IM conditions.

This study suggests that relaxation training for obese patients with emotional eating is effective, even if the

lack of differences between the two conditions suggests some important critical considerations. 

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 193-199

PAIN CONTROL DURING WOUND CARE FOR COMBAT-RELATED BURN INJURIES USING CUSTOM ARTICULATED ARM MOUNTED VIRTUAL

REALITY GOGGLES

C. Maani, H. Hoffman, P. A. DeSocio, M. Morrow, C. Galin, J. Magula, A. Maiers, K. Gaylord 

 

We describe the first two cases where virtual reality was added to usual pain medications to reduce excessive

pain during wound care of combat-related burn injuries. Patient 1 was a 22 year old male who suffered 3rd

degree burns on 32% of his body, including his right hand, during a roadside bomb terrorist attack in Iraq.

The nurse administered wound care to half of the right hand during VR and the other half of the same hand

during no VR (treatment order randomized). This patient was the first to use a unique custom articulated

robotic-like arm mounted VR goggle system. Three 0-10 graphic rating scale pain scores for each of the two

treatment conditions served as the primary dependent variables. The patient reported less pain when distracted

with VR. "Time spent thinking about pain" dropped from 100% during no VR to 15% during VR, “pain

unpleasantness” ratings dropped from “moderate” (6/10) to “mild” (4/10). Wound care was "no fun at all"

(0/10) during no VR but was "pretty fun" (8/10) during VR. However, Patient 1 reported no reduction in

worst pain during VR. Patient 2 suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns when his humvee was hit by a terrorist's

rocket propelled grenade in Iraq. During his wound care debridement, "time spent thinking about pain" was

100% (all of the time) with no VR and 0 (none of the time) during VR, "pain unpleasantness" ratings dropped

from "severe" (7/10) to "none". Worst pain dropped from "severe" (8/10) to mild pain (2/10). And fun

increased from zero with no VR to 10 (extremely fun) during VR. Although preliminary, using a within-subjects

experimental design, the present study provided evidence that immersive VR can be an effective adjunctive

nonpharmacologic analgesic for reducing cognitive pain, emotional pain and the sensory component of

pain of soldiers experiencing severe procedural pain during wound care of a combat-related burn injury. 

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 200-207

APPLYING THE TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTANCE MODEL TO VR WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE FAVORABLE TO ITS USE 

M. Bertrand, S. Bouchard 

 

This study aims to test how the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM; Davis, 1989, 1993; Venkatesh, 2000)

applies to the use of virtual reality in clinical settings. The sample is composed of 141 adults interested in using

this technology. We adapted the standard items used to test the TAM and added a perceived cost factor as

it was expected to play a role on Intention of Use. Structural equation modeling was used and, after removing

several parameters, an adequate fit to the data was found. The final model revealed that Intention to Use

VR is predicted only by Perceived Usefulness. These results pinpoint what should be better documented in

order to foster the dissemination of virtual reality among clinicians.

 


Lang and colleagues postulated that fear responses must be described on three levels: subjective-cognitive,

physiological, and behavioral. However, in-vivo assessments of fear in phobic situations are complex, difficult

to control, and frequently associated with methodological problems. The present studies used a virtual

reality spider scenario for a behavior avoidance test (VR-BAT). Subjective anxiety, symptoms, heart rate (HR),

skin conductance (SCL), and approach behavior were measured in 34 female spider-phobic participants

during two VR-BATs and during eight exposure trials in-between. The distance and fear ratings decreased

from the first to the second VR-BAT and during the exposure trials. Interestingly, HR and SCL increased

during the exposure trials and HR even between the first to the second VR-BAT. Physiological measures,

fear ratings and approach were only partially associated, but approach and fear measures correlated with

psychometric measures of spider phobia. The virtual reality scenario seems feasible for the behavioral and

physiological assessment of fear.Lang and colleagues postulated that fear responses must be described on three levels: subjective-cognitive,

physiological, and behavioral. However, in-vivo assessments of fear in phobic situations are complex, difficult

to control, and frequently associated with methodological problems. The present studies used a virtual

reality spider scenario for a behavior avoidance test (VR-BAT). Subjective anxiety, symptoms, heart rate (HR),

skin conductance (SCL), and approach behavior were measured in 34 female spider-phobic participants

during two VR-BATs and during eight exposure trials in-between. The distance and fear ratings decreased

from the first to the second VR-BAT and during the exposure trials. Interestingly, HR and SCL increased

during the exposure trials and HR even between the first to the second VR-BAT. Physiological measures,

fear ratings and approach were only partially associated, but approach and fear measures correlated with

psychometric measures of spider phobia. The virtual reality scenario seems feasible for the behavioral and

physiological assessment of fear.Lang and colleagues postulated that fear responses must be described on three levels: subjective-cognitive,

physiological, and behavioral. However, in-vivo assessments of fear in phobic situations are complex, difficult

to control, and frequently associated with methodological problems. The present studies used a virtual

reality spider scenario for a behavior avoidance test (VR-BAT). Subjective anxiety, symptoms, heart rate (HR),

skin conductance (SCL), and approach behavior were measured in 34 female spider-phobic participants

during two VR-BATs and during eight exposure trials in-between. The distance and fear ratings decreased

from the first to the second VR-BAT and during the exposure trials. Interestingly, HR and SCL increased

during the exposure trials and HR even between the first to the second VR-BAT. Physiological measures,

fear ratings and approach were only partially associated, but approach and fear measures correlated with

psychometric measures of spider phobia. The virtual reality scenario seems feasible for the behavioral and

physiological assessment of fear.Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (1), 7-22

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL BODY: VIRTUAL REALITY

AS EMBODIED TECHNOLOGY

Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D.


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (1), 7-22

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL BODY: VIRTUAL REALITY

AS EMBODIED TECHNOLOGY

Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D.


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (1), 7-22

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL BODY: VIRTUAL REALITY

AS EMBODIED TECHNOLOGY

Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D.


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (1), 7-22

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL BODY: VIRTUAL REALITY

AS EMBODIED TECHNOLOGY

Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D.


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 127-146


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (2), 127-146