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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Oct;70(5):1112-8.

Virtual reality exposure therapy for the treatment of fear of flying: a controlled investigation.

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Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.


Forty-five participants who refused to fly during a screening test and who also met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for specific phobia, agoraphobia, or panic disorder with agoraphobia were randomly assigned to 5 sessions of either virtual reality exposure (VRE) or attention-placebo group treatment (GT). At posttreatment, 65% of VRE participants and 57% of GT participants flew during a test flight. Both groups showed significant improvement following treatment on standardized self-report measures of flight anxiety, with a better outcome for the VRE group on 4 of 5 of these measures. At 6-month follow-up, however, most group differences had disappeared; VRE resulted in a better outcome on only 1 of 5 standardized flight anxiety measures.

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