Virtual Reality in Pediatric Psychology

Pediatrics. 2017 Nov;140(Suppl 2):S86-S91. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1758I.


Virtual reality (VR) technologies allow for controlled simulations of affectively engaging background narratives. These virtual environments offer promise for enhancing emotionally relevant experiences and social interactions. Within this context, VR can allow instructors, therapists, neuropsychologists, and service providers to offer safe, repeatable, and diversifiable interventions that can benefit assessments and learning in both typically developing children and children with disabilities. Research has also pointed to VR's capacity to reduce children's experience of aversive stimuli and reduce anxiety levels. Although there are a number of purported advantages of VR technologies, challenges have emerged. One challenge for this field of study is the lack of consensus on how to do trials. A related issue is the need for establishing the psychometric properties of VR assessments and interventions. This review investigates the advantages and challenges inherent in the application of VR technologies to pediatric assessments and interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Pediatrics / trends
  • Psychology, Child / methods*
  • Psychology, Child / trends
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / methods*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / trends