Virtual Reality is a mediated perception of being present and immersed in an environment (Steuer, 1992). This mediated environment can be animated (Computer Graphic) or recorded using 360o cameras. A combination of sensory, interaction, control and location dimensions are expected to increase a sense of ‘being in that environment’ (Van Gisbergen, 2016).
As such, VR seems to be a promising medium for treatment of addiction dependency as , compared to other media, it may turn clients from audiences to witnesses, and even from witnesses into active participants (Aronson-Rath et al., 2016; Van Gisbergen, 2016). However, as media budgets do not increase with the same speed as the rise of complementary media, the right media choice has become more important as well as more difficult.
Although there are many VR examples that help people with their treatment processes, a VR application that helps people to overcome their addiction themselves by creating personalized contexts and as such reduce the time between being in the clinic and going back home or reduce relapse risk, does not exist and as such has not been tested.
Testing will be conducted using a series of longitudinal qualitative experiments during the detoxification medical treatment therapy sessions. Testing, by means of qualitative interviews will take place at three moments during and after each individual session. Three groups will be compared:
animated VR environments (generic)
360o video (with own personalized living room)
control group without VR.
The following topics will be measured:
overall experience (using the TOPI scale the measures immersion, naturalness, presence and negative effects)
reported self-confidence (of going back home)
effectiveness and experience in CG animation & 360o video
self-reports of the likability and intention to use VR in the treatment process
treatment goals achievements (based on personalized prevention plans)
In addition the interviews will stimulate discussion on the why of benefits and drawbacks of using VR in the process.