Virtual Reality Combats Test Anxiety: A Case Study Report


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This pilot study is the first known in-depth case study of the effectiveness of virtual reality therapy (VRT) as a treatment for Test Anxiety (TA). The subject of the study was a 28-year-old male, whose anxiety and avoidance behavior was interfering with his normal academic activities. For treatment, he was placed in a virtual classroom and later in a virtual auditorium. The subject was exposed to six moderately increasing in difficulty level virtual situations. The subject rated each situation for discomfort. As a simple measure of anxiety, a modified version of the Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) scale was used every five minutes during exposure. This case study showed VRT to be an effective treatment method for reducing self-reported TA. Symptoms experienced by the subject during VRT sessions were just as real to the subject as actual test taking and general TA situations. They included increased heart rate, mild dizziness, and headaches. This case study of TA indicates that VRT may be used as an effective treatment method for reducing self-reported anxiety and improving the performance of subject(s) who suffer from TA.

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