Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is a promising intervention for the treatment of the anxiety disorders. The main objective of this meta-analysis is to compare the efficacy of VRET, used in a behavioral or cognitive-behavioral framework, with that of the classical evidence-based treatments, in anxiety disorders. A comprehensive search of the literature identified 23 studies (n = 608) that were included in the final analysis. The results show that in the case of anxiety disorders, (1) VRET does far better than the waitlist control; (2) the post-treatment results show similar efficacy between the behavioral and the cognitive behavioral interventions incorporating a virtual reality exposure component and the classical evidence-based interventions, with no virtual reality exposure component; (3) VRET has a powerful real-life impact, similar to that of the classical evidence-based treatments; (4) VRET has a good stability of results over time, similar to that of the classical evidence-based treatments; (5) there is a dose-response relationship for VRET; and (6) there is no difference in the dropout rate between the virtual reality exposure and the in vivo exposure. Implications are discussed.
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.