Virtual reality cognitive behavior therapy for public speaking anxiety: A randomized clinical trial

Helene S. Wallach, Marilyn P. Safir, Margalit Bar-Zvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Public speaking anxiety (PSA) is a common phobia. Although cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is preferred, difficulties arise with the exposure component (lack of therapist control, patient's inability to imagine, self-flooding, loss of confidentiality resulting from public exposure). Virtual reality CBT (VRCBT) enables a high degree of therapist control, thus overcoming these difficulties. This study examined whether VRCBT is an alternative to CBT. Participants with PSA were randomly assigned to VRCBT (28 participants), CBT (30 participants), and wait list control (WLC; 30 participants). VRCBT and CBT were significantly more effective than WLC in anxiety reduction on four of five anxiety measures, and on subject's self-rating of anxiety during a behavioral task. No significant differences were found on observer ratings of the behavioral task. However, twice as many participants dropped out from CBT than from VRCBT. Our results demonstrated that VRCBT is an effective and brief treatment regimen, equal to CBT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-338
Number of pages25
JournalBehavior Modification
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • Cognitive-behavior therapy
  • Phobia
  • Public speaking anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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