Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Immersive Therapy for Improving Anxiety in Health Professionals of a Regional Hospital During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Quasi-Experimental Pilot Study

Version 1 : Received: 4 July 2022 / Approved: 5 July 2022 / Online: 5 July 2022 (16:01:27 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Linares-Chamorro, M.; Domènech-Oller, N.; Jerez-Roig, J.; Piqué-Buisan, J. Immersive Therapy for Improving Anxiety in Health Professionals of a Regional Hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Quasi-Experimental Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9793. Linares-Chamorro, M.; Domènech-Oller, N.; Jerez-Roig, J.; Piqué-Buisan, J. Immersive Therapy for Improving Anxiety in Health Professionals of a Regional Hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Quasi-Experimental Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9793.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9793
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19169793

Abstract

Background: Immersive therapy through virtual reality represents a novel strategy used in psychological interventions, but there is still a need to strengthen the evidence on its effects on health professionals’ mental health. Objective: To analyze the results of immersive therapy through virtual reality in the levels of anxiety and secondly, well-being of the health professionals working in a regional hospital in Olot (Spain). Methods: Pilot quasi-experimental study including a group of 35 women (mean age=45.7, SD=8.43) health professionals who undertook immersive therapy for 8 weeks. The intervention was implemented through virtual reality, and its effect on anxiety levels and well-being was evaluated through the Hamilton and Eudemon scales, respectively. Data on age, gender, active pharmacological or psychological treatment, mental health disorders and number of sessions were also collected. Results: Statistically significant (p<0.001) improvement in anxiety and well-being was found, with large and moderate effect sizes (0.90 and 0.63 respectively). In addition, these changes were clinically significant. No significant associations were found between the improvements and the different variables, but a greater trend was identified among the group of professionals with untreated or unidentified levels of anxiety. Conclusion: This group of health professionals showed statistically and clinically significant improvement in anxiety and well-being after the application of immersive therapy using virtual reality. Further studies with a control group are necessary to further analyze this novel intervention.

Keywords

Virtual reality; health professionals; anxiety; immersive therapy

Subject

MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Psychiatry & Mental Health studies

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