Virtual reality-based multidimensional therapy for the treatment of body image disturbances in obesity: A controlled study

G. Riva, M. Bacchetta, M. Baruffi, E. Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The main goal of this paper is a preliminary evaluation of the efficacy of a virtual reality VR-based multidimensional approach to the treatment of body image attitudes and related constructs. The female obese patients (n = 28) involved in a residential weight control treatment, including low-calorie diet (1,200 kcal/day) and physical training, were randomly assigned either to the VR treatment or to psychonutritional groups based on the cognitive-behavior approach. Patients were administered a battery of outcome measures assessing eating disorders symptomatology, attitudes toward food, body dissatisfaction, level of anxiety, motivation for change, level of assertiveness, and general psychiatric symptoms. In the short-term, the VR treatment was more effective than the traditional cognitive-behavioral psychonutritional groups in improving the overall psychological state of the patients. In particular, it was more effective in improving body satisfaction, self-efficacy, and motivation for change. The improvement was associated with a reduction in problematic eating and social behaviors. The possibility of inducing a significant change in body image and its associated behaviors using a VR-based short-term therapy can improve body satisfaction in traditional weight reduction programs. However, given that this research that does not include a follow-up study, the obtained results are preliminary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-526
Number of pages16
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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