Virtual reality a promising tool for reducing fears and phobia in autism


Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, February 22, 2019–In a new pilot study, autistic adults showed real-life, functional improvement after a combination treatment approach that included graded exposure to fear and anxiety-producing experiences in a virtual reality environment. The design and preliminary results of this novel approach are published in Autism in Adulthood, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article on the Autism and Adulthood website.

In the article entitled “Using Virtual Reality Environments to Augment Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Fears and Phobias In Autistic Adults,” a team led by Professor Jeremy Parr from Newcastle University and NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. de-scribe a pilot study in which they tested a combined cognitive behavioral (CBT) therapy and immersive virtual reality approach in adults aged 18-57 on the autism spectrum. The partic-ipants received one educational session followed by four 20-minute therapeutic sessions of gradually increasing exposure to the feared stimulus to minimize anxiety.

“Phobias commonly co-occur with autism and often cause significant distress. While results are very preliminary, it is exciting to see innovative strategies for an issue that has been so hard to treat. Emerging Practices papers, such as this one, look towards the future by highlighting new avenues of research that have potential for improving quality of life for autistic adults,” says Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH, Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon and Editor-in-Chief of Autism in Adulthood.


About the Journal

Autism in Adulthood is a new peer-reviewed journal dedicated to research and scholarship on the most pressing issues affecting adults on the autism spectrum, from emerging adulthood to later life. Led by Editor-in-Chief Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH, Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University, and launching in early 2019, the Journal will be the premier source for original research, in-depth analysis, and inter-professional dialogue, providing new insights and evidence to promote practice, systems, and policy change. For complete information, please visit the Autism in Adulthood website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and Brain Connectivity. Its flagship publication, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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