Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Virtual Reality Technique Helps Conquer Fear Of Flying, Say Researchers

Date:
August 11, 2000
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
An estimated 10-25 percent of the population suffers from fear of flying. This fear can cause overwhelming anxiety for those who have to travel for business or need to fly to reach a vacation destination. Now, those white knucklers can overcome their anxiety of flying by participating in therapy using a new tool called Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE).

After eight sessions, participants showed a significant reduction in anxiety and fear

WASHINGTON -- An estimated 10-25 percent of the population suffers from fear of flying. This fear can cause overwhelming anxiety for those who have to travel for business or need to fly to reach a vacation destination. Now, those white knucklers can overcome their anxiety of flying by participating in therapy using a new tool called Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE). Virtual Reality allows a user to be an active participant within a computer-generated three-dimensional virtual world that changes in a natural way with a person's head and body motion. Findings from this study will be presented at the American Psychological Association's 108th Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

To show how effective VRE is in reducing fear and anxiety when flying, psychologists Samantha Smith, Ph.D., of Walter Reed Army Hospital and Barbara O. Rothbaum, Ph.D., of Emory University School of Medicine, enrolled 45 participants (ages 24-69) with a fear of flying in three different experimental conditions. The participants had either been diagnosed with a specific phobia or agoraphobia with or without panic attacks that were triggered by flying.

Four sessions of anxiety management training were given to the treatment participants followed either by exposure to VRE (n=15) or going to an actual airplane at the airport (standard exposure or SE) (n=15). Participants in the waitlist control group received no treatment (n=15).

Those in the VRE treatment experienced virtual reality by sitting in an airplane, takeoffs, landings and flying in both calm and stormy weather. Those in the SE treatment traveled to the airport, sat on a stationary airplane and imagined takeoffs, cruising and landings.

After eight sessions over a six-week period, a flight on a commercial airline was offered to determine the participants' willingness to fly and their anxiety level during the flight. The flyers in both the VRE and SE treatments were found to be equally effective in decreasing their anxiety symptoms as measured by standardized questionnaires and by increasing the number of flights on a real airplane following the treatment.

The treated participants reported significant reductions in their apprehensions about flying as well as equal satisfaction with both the VRE and SE treatments. And when wait-listed participants were allowed to choose which treatment they would receive, the overwhelming majority chose the VRE treatment. "Six months after the treatment," said the authors, "93 percent or 14 out of the 15 participants of both the VRE and SE participants had flown."

"The advantages of VRE over SE," said the authors, "are that VRE can be done in a clinical setting (someone's office) where SE can be very costly and inconvenient. You need to travel to an airport, then be able to schedule an actual airplane flight. Plus, it takes longer than a regular hour therapy session." Furthermore, VRE allows the therapist to manipulate situations to best suit the patient, for example, "to repeatedly fly the virtual airplane within one session or to experience takeoffs, landings and turbulence," said the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "New Virtual Reality Technique Helps Conquer Fear Of Flying, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807063148.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2000, August 11). New Virtual Reality Technique Helps Conquer Fear Of Flying, Say Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807063148.htm
American Psychological Association. "New Virtual Reality Technique Helps Conquer Fear Of Flying, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807063148.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins