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Promotion of emotional wellbeing in oncology inpatients using VR.

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Universitat Jaume I, Spain.



In Psycho-oncology, VR has been utilized mainly to manage pain and distress associated to medical procedures and chemotherapy, with very few applications aimed at promotion of wellbeing in hospitalized patients. Considering this, it was implemented a psychological intervention that uses VR to induce positive emotions on adult oncology inpatients with the purpose of evaluating its utility to improve emotional wellbeing in this population.


Sample was composed of 33 patients (69.7% men, aged from 41 to 85 years old; X=62.1; SD=10.77). Intervention lasted 4 sessions of 30 minutes, along one week. In these sessions, two virtual environments designed to induce joy or relaxation were used. Symptoms of depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS) and level of happiness (Fordyce Scale) were assessed before and after the VR intervention. Also, Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) were used to assess emotional state and physical discomfort before and after each session.


There were significant improvements in distress and level of happiness after the VR intervention. Also, it was detected an increment in positive emotions and a decrease in negative emotions after sessions.


Results emphasize the potential of VR as a positive technology that can be used to promote wellbeing during hospitalization, especially considering the shortness of the intervention and the advanced state of disease of the participants. Despite the encouraging of these results, it is necessary to confirm them in studies with larger samples and control groups.

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