Affective outcomes of virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and specific phobias: a meta-analysis

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;39(3):250-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2007.07.007. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is an increasingly common treatment for anxiety and specific phobias. Lacking is a quantitative meta-analysis that enhances understanding of the variability and clinical significance of anxiety reduction outcomes after VRET. Searches of electronic databases yielded 52 studies, and of these, 21 studies (300 subjects) met inclusion criteria. Although meta-analysis revealed large declines in anxiety symptoms following VRET, moderator analyses were limited due to inconsistent reporting in the VRET literature. This highlights the need for future research studies that report uniform and detailed information regarding presence, immersion, anxiety and/or phobia duration, and demographics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy / methods*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design / trends
  • Sample Size
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface*