Objective: The authors' goal was to examine the efficacy of computer-generated (virtual reality) graded exposure in the treatment of acrophobia (fear of heights).
Method: Twenty college students with acrophobia were randomly assigned to virtual reality graded exposure treatment (N = 12) or to a waiting-list comparison group (N = 8). Seventeen students completed the study. Sessions were conducted individually over 8 weeks. Outcome was assessed by using measures of anxiety, avoidance, attitudes, and distress associated with exposure to heights before and after treatment.
Results: Significant differences between the students who completed the virtual reality treatment (N = 10) and those on the waiting list (N = 7) were found on all measures. The treatment group was significantly improved after 8 weeks, but the comparison group was unchanged.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that treatment with virtual reality graded exposure was successful in reducing fear of heights.