Coping with stress and anxiety: The role of presence in technology mediated environments

Daniela Villani, Pietro Cipresso, Claudia Repetto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Several studies in the last decades have demonstrated that exposure therapy is an effective way to treat anxiety and stress and Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) acts as a completely controlled experience. A new perspective is represented by the use of Virtual Reality (VR) for triggering a broad empowerment process to learn coping skills and emotional regulation to cope with stress and anxiety. The link between these approaches is constituted by the sense of presence. In this view, the experience of "being there" is influenced by the ability of "making sense there" and by the possibility to learn by living real experiences in technology-mediated environments. Thanks to the integration of several advanced technologies (virtual reality, advanced sensors and smartphones), as supported by the Interreality approach, it is possible to take advantage of the sense of presence to overcome the limitations of existing protocols for psychological stress and anxiety. Furthermore, a larger availability of unobtrusive biosensors makes possible the effective measurement of presence (and the related affective states) during the interaction instead of using post-experience self-assessments. Future mediated platforms will provide the following advantages: 1) increased accuracy in assessment of ongoing intervention processes; 2) the ability to correlate specific mental states with specific activities executed in the environments; 3) the ability to study the variables related to stress and anxiety in the framework of simulations representing realistic situations and daily contexts, thus increasing the ecological validity of gathered data.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteracting with Presence: HCI and the Sense of Presence in Computer-Mediated Environments
PublisherDe Gruyter Open Ltd
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783110409697, 3110409674, 9783110409673
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Anxiety
  • Interreality
  • Mobile devices
  • New technologies
  • Presence
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Coping with stress and anxiety: The role of presence in technology mediated environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this