Treating cockroach phobia using a serious game on a mobile phone and augmented reality exposure: A single case study.

Autores UPV
Revista Computers in Human Behavior


In vivo exposure has proved its efficacy in the treatment of specific phobias; however, not all patients benefit from it. Communication and information technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have improved exposure treatment adherence and acceptance. Serious games (SG) could also be used in order to facilitate exposure treatment. A line of research on SG is emerging which focuses on health issues. We have developed a SG for the treatment of cockroach phobia that uses a mobile phone as the application device. This work examines results of an N = 1 study about whether the use of this mobile game can facilitate treatment of this specific phobia preparing her for the AR exposure. A 25-year-old woman with cockroach phobia participated in the study. Results showed that the use of the mobile game reduced her level of fear and avoidance before a "one-session" AR exposure treatment was applied, following the guidelines by Öst. The participant found very helpful the use of the SG before the AR exposure session and she was willing to use it after the AR exposure session as a homework assignment. Although the results of this study are preliminary, SG appears to be a line of research of high interest in clinical psychology for the treatment of specific phobias. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.