COVID Feel Good—An Easy Self-Help Virtual Reality Protocol to Overcome the Psychological Burden of Coronavirus

Published on Sep 23, 2020in Frontiers in Psychiatry2.849
· DOI :10.3389/FPSYT.2020.563319
G. Riva6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart),
Giuseppe Riva88
Estimated H-index: 88
(UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)
+ 26 AuthorsBrenda K. Wiederhold50
Estimated H-index: 50
Sources
Abstract
Background Living in the time of the COVID-19 means experiencing not only a global health emergency but also extreme psychological stress with potential emotional side effects such as sadness, grief, irritability, and mood swings. Crucially, lockdown and confinement measures isolate people who become the first and the only ones in charge of their own mental health: people are left alone facing a novel and potentially lethal situation, and, at the same time, they need to develop adaptive strategies to face it, at home. In this view, easy-to-use, inexpensive, and scientifically validated self-help solutions aiming to reduce the psychological burden of coronavirus are extremely necessary. Aims This pragmatic trial aims to provide the evidence that a weekly self-help virtual reality (VR) protocol can help overcome the psychological burden of the Coronavirus by relieving anxiety, improving well-being, and reinforcing social connectedness. The protocol will be based on the "Secret Garden" 360 VR video online (www.covidfeelgood.com) which simulates a natural environment aiming to promote relaxation and self-reflection. Three hundred sixty-degree or spherical videos allow the user to control the viewing direction. In this way, the user can explore the content from any angle like a panorama and experience presence and immersion. The "Secret Garden" video is combined with daily exercises that are designed to be experienced with another person (not necessarily physically together), to facilitate a process of critical examination and eventual revision of core assumptions and beliefs related to personal identity, relationships, and goals. Methods This is a multicentric, pragmatic pilot randomized controlled trial involving individuals who experienced the COVID-19 pandemic and underwent a lockdown and quarantine procedures. The trial is approved by the Ethics Committee of the Istituto Auxologico Italiano. Each research group in all the countries joining the pragmatic trial, aims at enrolling at least 30 individuals in the experimental group experiencing the self-help protocol, and 30 in the control group, over a period of 3 months to verify the feasibility of the intervention. Conclusion The goal of this protocol is for VR to become the "surgical mask" of mental health treatment. Although surgical masks do not provide the wearer with a reliable level of protection against the coronavirus compared with FFP2 or FFP3 masks, surgical masks are very effective in protecting others from the wearer's respiratory emissions. The goal of the VR protocol is the same: not necessarily to solve complex mental health problems but rather to improve well-being and preserve social connectedness through the beneficial social effects generated by positive emotions.
Download
References41
Newest
#1Giuseppe Riva (UCSC: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)H-Index: 88
10 CitationsSource
#1Emily A. Holmes (KI: Karolinska Institutet)H-Index: 75
#2Rory C. O'Connor (Glas.: University of Glasgow)H-Index: 67
Last. Edward T. Bullmore (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 178
view all 25 authors...
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of society, including mental health and physical health. We explore the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and set out the immediate priorities and longer-term strategies for mental health science research. These priorities were informed by surveys of the public and an expert panel convened by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity, MQ: Transf...
1,741 CitationsSource
#1Gaëtan Mertens (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 12
#1Gaëtan Mertens (Tilburg University)H-Index: 1
Last. Iris M. Engelhard (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 3
view all 5 authors...
Fear is an adaptive response in the presence of danger. However, when threat is uncertain and continuous, as in the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, fear can become chronic and burdensome. To better understand predictors of fear of the coronavirus, we conducted an online survey (N = 439) between March 14 and 17, 2020, which started three days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Fear of the coronavirus was assessed with eight questions...
221 CitationsSource
#1Tim R. WindH-Index: 1
#2Marleen M. Rijkeboer (UM: Maastricht University)H-Index: 14
Last. Heleen Riper (VU: VU University Amsterdam)H-Index: 67
view all 4 authors...
The COVID-19 pandemic : The 'black swan' for mental health care and a turning point for e-health.
194 CitationsSource
#1Samantha K. Brooks ('KCL': King's College London)H-Index: 21
#2Rebecca K. Webster ('KCL': King's College London)H-Index: 12
Last. Gideon James Rubin ('KCL': King's College London)H-Index: 10
view all 7 authors...
The January 2020 coronavirus outbreak has seen many countries plan to ‘self-isolate’ or quarantine people who have potentially come into contact with the infection. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on best available evidence. We conducted a rapid review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. 3166 papers were found and 24 included in the review. The majority of reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumati...
4,333 CitationsSource
#1Matthew H. E. M. Browning (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 13
#2Katherine J. Mimnaugh (University of Oulu)H-Index: 3
Last. Steven M. LaValle (University of Oulu)H-Index: 63
view all 5 authors...
Nature exposure in virtual reality (VR) can provide emotional well-being benefits for people who cannot access the outdoors. Little is known about how these simulated experiences compare with real outdoor experiences. We conduct an experiment with healthy undergraduate students that tests the effects of six minutes of outdoor nature exposure with six minutes of exposure to a 360-degree VR nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. Skin conductivity, restorativeness,...
31 CitationsSource
#1Volkan Sevinc (BAU: Bahçeşehir University)H-Index: 1
#2Mehmet Ilker Berkman (BAU: Bahçeşehir University)H-Index: 5
Abstract Cybersickness, i.e. visually induced motion sickness, remains as a negative effect that is detrimental to the user experience of VEs (virtual environments) developed for VR (virtual reality) consumers. As the VR technology evolves, it is rather triggered by application aspects rather than hardware limitations. For this reason, there is still a need for a measurement method to assess and compare VEs for cybersickness effects. SSQ (Simulation Sickness Questionnaire) is used for measuring ...
22 CitationsSource
#1Philip Lindner (Stockholm University)H-Index: 15
#2William HamiltonH-Index: 6
Last. Per Carlbring (Stockholm University)H-Index: 88
view all 4 authors...
Depression is a common mental disorder with a large treatment gap. Low-intensity, automated virtual reality (VR) interventions (not requiring a therapist) is a scalable and promising solution now that VR is an accessible and mature, consumer technology. Yet unlike with phobias, there have been few attempts at translating evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapeutic (CBT) techniques for depression into the VR modality. In this paper, we discuss how specific CBT techniques can be made into VR e...
14 CitationsSource
#1Hannah Roberts (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 7
#2Caspar J. van Lissa (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 14
Last. Marco Helbich (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 36
view all 5 authors...
Abstract Background Research suggests that exposure to the natural environment can improve mood, however, current reviews are limited in scope and there is little understanding of moderators. Objective To conduct a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence for the effect of short-term exposure to the natural environment on depressive mood. Methods Five databases were systematically searched for relevant studies published up to March 2018. Risk of bias was evaluated using ...
13 CitationsSource
#1Tara Donker (PHRI: Public Health Research Institute)H-Index: 23
#2Ilja Cornelisz (VU: VU University Amsterdam)H-Index: 6
Last. Jean-Louis van Gelder (UT: University of Twente)H-Index: 22
view all 7 authors...
Importance: Globally, access to evidence-based psychological treatment is limited. Innovative self-help methods using smartphone applications and low-cost virtual reality have the potential to significantly improve the accessibility and scalability of psychological treatments. Objective: To examine the effectiveness of ZeroPhobia, a fully self-guided app-based virtual reality cognitive behavior therapy (VR CBT) using low-cost (cardboard) virtual reality goggles compared with a wait-list control ...
41 CitationsSource
Cited By9
Newest
#1Alexander P. Schouten (Tilburg University)H-Index: 20
#2Tijs C. Portegies (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
Last. Komala Mazerant-Dubois (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
view all 5 authors...
Abstract null null The global pandemic has stressed the value of working remotely, also in higher education. This development sparks the growing use of telepresence robots, which allow students with prolonged sickness to interact with other students and their teacher remotely. Although telepresence robots are developed to facilitate virtual inclusion, empirical evidence is lacking whether these robots actually enable students to better cooperate with their fellow students compared to other techn...
Source
#2Giuseppe RivaH-Index: 88
Source
Background: Nurses are facing unprecedented amounts of pressure because of the ongoing global health challenges. Improving nurses' resilience to job-related stress and enhancing their strategies to cope effectively with stressors are key issues facing many health care institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This literature review aimed to: a) provide a thorough overview of individual-level interventions for stress management among nurses, b) identify measurement tools utilized to evaluate nur...
Source
#1Annalisa Theodorou (Roma Tre University)H-Index: 3
#1Annalisa Theodorou (Roma Tre University)H-Index: 1
Last. Claudio Imperatori (Sapienza University of Rome)H-Index: 19
view all 6 authors...
Abstract Social distancing and confinement at home during the first wave of Covid-19 have been essential to helping governments to flatten the infection curve but raised concerns on possible negative consequences such as prolonged isolation or sedentary lifestyles. In this scenario, gardening activities have been identified as a plausible tool to buffer the mental health consequences of forced home confinements at home. In this paper, we investigate the relation between gardening and psychopatho...
3 CitationsSource
The multifactorial genesis of old-age depression requires multi-professional therapy combining physical activity and psychosocial interventions; however, there is still a percentage of older people who do not exhibit satisfactory improvements. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual therapy in the elderly for whom the previous multimodal, biopsychosocial therapeutic programme had not brought the expected results. Twenty-five elderly women with depressive symptoms were ...
3 CitationsSource
Background: COVID-19 has taken many lives worldwide and due to this, millions of persons are in grief. When the grief process lasts longer than 6 months, the person is in risk of developing Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD). The CGD is related to serious health consequences. To reduce the probability of developing CGD a preventive intervention could be applied. In developing countries like Mexico, the psychological services are scarce, self-applied interventions could provide support to solve thi...
Source
#1Marta Matamala-Gomez (University of Milano-Bicocca)H-Index: 8
#2Sara BottiroliH-Index: 16
Last. Cristina Tassorelli (UNIPV: University of Pavia)H-Index: 56
view all 9 authors...
In catastrophic situations such as pandemics, patients’ healthcare including admissions to hospitals and emergency services are challenged by the risk of infection and by limitations of healthcare resources. In such a setting, the use of telemedicine interventions has become extremely important. New technologies have proved helpful in pandemics as a solution to improve the quality of life in vulnerable patients such as persons with neurological diseases. Moreover, telemedicine interventions prov...
1 CitationsSource
Last. Giuseppe RivaH-Index: 88
view all 4 authors...
Source
#1Matthew H. E. M. Browning (Clemson University)H-Index: 13
#2Nathan J. Shipley (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 4
Last. Angel M. DzhambovH-Index: 18
view all 7 authors...
Accumulating evidence indicates that simulated natural settings can engage mechanisms that promote health. Simulations offer alternatives to actual natural settings for populations unable to travel outdoors safely; however, few studies have contrasted the effects of simulations of natural settings to their actual outdoor counterparts. We compared the impacts of simulated and actual natural settings on positive and negative affect (mood) levels using a pooled sample of participants enrolled in ex...
9 CitationsSource