Improving the Exposure Therapy Through Projection-based Augmented Reality for the Treatment of Cockroach Phobia

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    Universitat Jaume I
Updated on 3 June 2021


The aim of this study is to test the efficacy and efficiency of varying the phobic stimuli during the augmented reality (AR) exposure therapy using multiple stimuli versus one single stimulus through projection-based AR (P-ARET) for the treatment of participants diagnosed with cockroach phobia.


Specific phobia (SP) refers to an extreme and persistent fear of a specific object or situation that is out of proportion to the actual danger or threat. SP is the most prevalent anxiety disorder with substantial impairment and comorbidity. Animal fear is one of the most prevalent subtypes of SP. In vivo exposure is the treatment of choice for this problem, but this technique is associated to limitations in its implementation related to the access and acceptability (i.e., low acceptance on the part of patients and therapists, high dropout rates, limited access to the treatment and, difficulties in its application in the clinical context). Augmented Reality (AR) offers some advantages in delivering the exposure technique:

  1. Exposure to multiple virtual stimuli; 2) Going beyond reality; 3) Allowing complete control over the situation; 4) It allows privacy and confidentiality. Particularly, the most significant aspect of AR is that the virtual elements add relevant and helpful information to the physical information available in the real world.

The study will follow the guidelines of a multiple-baseline single case design with alternating treatments. Participants (N = 4) who received a diagnosis of SP for cockroaches (DSM-5), will be randomly assigned to different baselines (ranging between 8 and 14 days) and all of them will receive the two experimental conditions: 1) AR exposure therapy with multiple stimuli and; 2) AR exposure therapy with a single stimulus. Five evaluation moments will be included: pre-intervention (baseline), post- intervention, and follow-up at the first month, 6 and 12 months.

Condition animal phobia
Treatment Alternating single stimulus and multiple stimuli
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04553120
SponsorUniversitat Jaume I
Last Modified on3 June 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Being at least 18 years old
Meeting DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for SP (animal subtype) to cockroaches
Having a minimum of six-month duration of the phobia
Sign an informed consent
Presenting a score of at least 4 on the fear and avoidance scales of the diagnostic interview applied

Exclusion Criteria

Presence of another severe mental disorder that requires immediate attention
Having current alcohol or drug dependence or abuse, psychosis or severe organic illness
Currently being treated in a similar treatment program
Being capable of inserting their hands in a plastic container with a cockroach (during the behavioral test)
Receiving other psychological treatment during the study for cockroach phobia
Start receiving pharmacological treatment during the study (or in case of being already taking them, change the drug or dose)
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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