Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation

Volume 1 - Issue 3 - Fall 2008

Abstracts

 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (3), 225-238

DESIGNING GAME-BASED LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR VIRTUAL PATIENTS IN SECOND LIFE 

M. Toro-Troconis, U. Mellström, M. Partridge, K. Meera, M. Barrett, & J. Higham 

 

Opportunities for building learning activities around real patients have decreased and various representative simulations have become an increasingly common alternative. The use of virtual patients is one such simulation developed to support the delivery of clinical teaching. Game-based learning has been considered a new way of delivering clinical teaching that is more suited to the new generation of ‘digital natives’. Online multi-user virtual environments offer rich interactive 3D collaborative spaces where users can meet and interact. This paper discusses different learning types and the virtual patients developed in Second Life that follow game-based learning approaches based on a four-dimensional framework, as well as other design considerations that look at emergent narratives and modes of representation. Attitude towards game-based learning was assessed by measuring four components, including 21 statements, each scored on a 5-point Likert scale. General recommendations on delivery

of game-based learning for virtual patients in Second Life are presented. 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (3), 239-246

COMBAT SCENARIOS AND RELAXATION TRAINING TO HARDEN MEDICS AGAINST STRESS 

M. Stetz, C. Long, B. Wiederhold, & D. Turner 

 

Virtual Reality-Stress Inoculation Training (VR-SIT) is a technique designed to mitigate the negative effects of psychological stressors. This study was designed to examine the usefulness of VR-SIT to increase levels of stress in medical military personnel. We examined the psychological stress levels in 63 participants that were either in a group to practice combat medical skills with virtual scenarios only, or practicing relaxation techniques only, both, or neither. We observed higher levels of hostility in the VR group than in the rest. Also, those practicing relaxation techniques while exposed to the VR games showed higher levels of sensation-seeking. Interestingly, further analyses showed higher levels of both anxiety and dysphoria in those previously deployed that participated either in the VR or the relaxation group. Our results suggest that exposure to VR scenarios where to practice medical skills is a

promising way to prepare warfighters for combat stress. 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (3), 247-257

THERAPEUTIC PROCESSES IN VIRTUAL REALITY EXPOSURE THERAPY: THE ROLE OF COGNITIONS AND THE THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE 

K. Meyerbröker & P. M.G.Emmelkamp 

 

Little is known about the processes involved in Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), including the role of the therapeutic alliance and the patients’ cognitions. This study was designed to investigate VRET processes in patients with specific phobias. We analyzed the influence of VRET on self-efficacy and negative self-statements without addressing these cognitions directly through treatment. In addition, we examined whether the quality of the therapeutic alliance as assessed with the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) predicted successful outcome in VRET in terms of anxiety reduction. As expected, results showed that anxiety was reduced through treatment and an increase in self-efficacy, and a decrease in negative self-statements was observed. The quality of the therapeutic alliance was only positively related to outcome in fear of flying patients, but not in patients with acrophobia. 


Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2008, 1 (3), 258-266

PHYSIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT DURING VR PTSD TREATMENT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT PATIENT 

P. Gamito, T. Saraiva, D. Morais, P. Rosa, M. Pombal, F. Lopes, L. Gamito, & A. Leal 

 

Besides physical injuries, motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are responsible for serious mental disorders, up to 40% of the victims of MVAs can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A 42-year old patient was exposed to a virtual highway with an increasing anxiety triggering events (traffic intensity; horns; proximity of the surrounding buildings; tunnels; crossovers). The results indicate that the patient had a decrease in PTSD symptoms, namely in the IES (Intrusion and Avoidance dimensions) and in the HADS (Anxiety and Depression dimensions). As far as the psychophysiological activation concerns, the distribution GSR and ECG values during the 12 sessions followed the expected pattern, being reduced during the final session with statistically significant differences between sessions for ECG (F(11) = 2.842; p <.05). However, the most relevant fact is that this decrease led to the patient being able to drive again.