Effectiveness of virtual reality exposure therapy for active duty soldiers in a military mental health clinic§


  • We thank Patricia Koenen-Woods, PsyD, the Department of Psychology at Madigan; and Andersen Simulation Center for their generous support of this project.

  • Dr. Rothbaum is a consultant to and owns equity in Virtually Better, Inc., which is developing products related to the virtual reality research described in this paper, although Virtually Better did not create the Virtual Iraq described. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Emory University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

  • §

    The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.


Exposure therapy is an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but research evaluating its effectiveness with active duty service members is limited. This report examines the effectiveness of virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) for active duty soldiers (N = 24) seeking treatment following a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Relative to their pretreatment self-reported symptoms on the PTSD Checklist, Military Version (M = 60.92; SD = 11.03), patients reported a significant reduction at posttreatment (M = 47.08; SD = 12.70; p < .001). Sixty-two percent of patients (n = 15) reported a reliable change of 11 points or more. This study supports the effectiveness of exposure therapy for active duty soldiers and extends previous research on VRE to this population.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

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