Class of 2024Orinda, California
- "Does the inclusion of biofeedback increase the effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy in individuals with Agoraphobia?" with mentor Corinne (Sept. 21, 2023)
Does the inclusion of biofeedback increase the effectiveness of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy in individuals with Agoraphobia?
Started July 9, 2023
Abstract or project description
Agoraphobia is a phobic anxiety disorder that involves intense fear of situations in which escape is not easily accessible (e.g., crowded places, leaving the house) that is relatively common, occuring in an estimated 0.3-1.6% of individuals in a given year. Recent treatments for phobic anxiety disorders have involved a modified version of exposure therapy (ET; the gold standard intervention for phobic anxiety disorders) that involves the addition of virtual reality (VRET). Researchers hypothesize, in order to make VRET most effective, the patient’s physiological stress signals should be measured during treatment. Wearable biofeedback sensors would enable researchers to track subjects' stress levels during treatment and adapt treatment conditions accordingly. In the current study, we propose a randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of the inclusion of biofeedback in treating individuals with Agoraphobia using VRET. Individuals with Agoraphobia would be randomized to VRET treatment with and without biofeedback measurements and treatment effects of each group will be assessed with pre- and post-symptom measurement. If findings of this study demonstrate superior effectiveness of VRET with biofeedback, then it can be used to inform future phobia treatments.