The role of media in supporting a stress management protocol: An experimental study

Daniela Villani, Giuseppe Riva

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Stress management (SM) is a term widely used with a seemingly obvious meaning but it is not clear how many different forms of SM exist and how efficacious they are according to the target problem. Stress is a multidimensional condition and we believe that it requires a wide-spectrum approach. We consider that a combination of stress management techniques can produce more significant outcomes than did single-strategy programs. For this reason we propose an integration of three approaches to cope with stress and improve emotional management from different points of view: the Emotion Focused Therapy; the Behavioral Therapy, and in particular Relaxation; the Rational Emotive Therapy. In particular, we decided to use two mediated experiences - audio and immersive 3D video - to support the Relaxation phase. The critical role in mediated experiences is played by the sense of presence that allows the experience to evoke the same perceptual reactions and emotions as a real one. To verify the efficacy of the SM protocol we carried out a controlled trial, comparing an experimental Video group, an Audio group (that only listened to the relaxing narrative), and a control group without treatment. Results showed the efficacy of integrating different approaches to cope with stress and suggested the importance of the sense of presence as a mediating variable between the experience and the efficacy of the relaxation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cyber Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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