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A randomised controlled feasibility trial of immersive virtual reality treatment with cognitive behaviour therapy for specific phobias in young people with autism spectrum disord5er

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Morag Maskey, Professor Jacqueline Rodgers, Dr Victoria Grahame, Dr Magda GlodORCiD, Dr Emma Honey, Dr Marie Labus, Dr Dimitrios Minos, Emerita Professor Helen McConachie, Professor Jeremy Parr



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


We examined the feasibility and acceptability of using an immersive virtual reality environment (VRE) alongside cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for young people with autism experiencing specific phobia. Thirty-two participants were randomised to treatment or control. Treatment involved one session introducing CBT techniques and four VRE sessions, delivered by local clinical therapists. Change in target behaviour was independently rated. Two weeks after treatment, four treatment participants (25%) and no control participants were responders; at six months after treatment, six (38%) treatment and no control participants were responders. At six months post-treatment, symptoms had worsened for one treatment and five control (untreated) participants. Brief VRE exposure with CBT is feasible and acceptable to deliver through child clinical services and is effective for some participants.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maskey M, Rodgers J, Grahame V, Glod M, Honey E, Kinnear J, Labus M, Milne J, Minos D, McConachie H, Parr JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Year: 2019

Volume: 49

Issue: 5

Pages: 1912-1927

Print publication date: 01/05/2019

Online publication date: 15/02/2019

Acceptance date: 07/12/2018

Date deposited: 07/02/2019

ISSN (print): 0162-3257

ISSN (electronic): 1573-3432

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10803-018-3861-x


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