A Feasibility Study of Virtual Reality-Based Coping Skills Training for Nicotine Dependence

Patrick S Bordnick, Amy C Traylor, Brian L Carter, Ken M Graap
Research on Social Work Practice 2012, 22 (3): 293-300

OBJECTIVE: Virtual reality (VR)-based cue reactivity has been successfully used for the assessment of drug craving. Going beyond assessment of cue reactivity, a novel VR-based treatment approach for smoking cessation was developed and tested for feasibility.

METHOD: In a randomized experiment, 10-week treatment feasibility trial, 46 nicotine-dependent adults, completed the10-week program. Virtual reality skills training (VRST) combined with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was compared to NRT alone. Participants were assessed for smoking behavior and coping skills during, at end of treatment, and at posttreatment follow-up.

RESULTS: Smoking rates and craving for nicotine were significantly lower for the VRST group compared to NRT-only group at the end of treatment. Self-confidence and coping skills were also significantly higher for the VRST group, and number of cigarettes smoked was significantly lower, compared to the control group at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Feasibility of VRST was supported in the current study.


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