Outcomes of virtual reality technology in the management of generalised anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Khadijah Alahmari, Henry Duh, Richard Skarbez

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic uncontrollable excessive anxiety towards a variety of topics. It is one of the most prevalent anxiety diseases, affecting approximately 6% worldwide. Virtual reality (VR) based interventions have received much attention from researchers for the management of mental health problems. This systematic review was conducted to assess the effects of immersive virtual reality techniques and non-immersive techniques in treating patients with GAD. Methods: An extensive systematic literature review was implemented, from inception up to 9 July 2021. Comparative clinical studies that assessed the outcomes of VRT in patients with GAD were included for meta-analysis. Single arm studies were included for systematic review only. Results: A total of six articles with 239 participants with GAD were included in systematic review. The mean age of the included participants ranged from 38.33 to 59.87 years. There was no statistically significant difference between VRT and control groups regarding the anxiety levels (SMD 0.01; 95%CI −0.52, 0.54; P = 0.97), mean depression scores (SMD 1.34; 95%CI −0.80, 3.49; P = 0.22), PSWQ (MD −4.26; 95%CI −10.93, 2.40; P = 0.21), and discomfort status (MD −1.41; 95%CI −3.86, 1.05; P = 0.22). Conclusions: VR improved relatively the manifestations of GAD, reflecting on the patient's quality of life. However, the existing evidence is inconclusive to support the superiority of VR as a substitute for traditional therapies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • generalised anxiety disorder
  • virtual environment
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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