Group Telegaming Through Immersive Virtual Reality to Improve Mental Health Among Adolescents With Physical Disabilities: Pre- and Posttrial Protocol

Academic Article


  • Background: Adolescents with physical disabilities have higher rates of mental health conditions and issues than adolescents without disabilities, and this disparity was exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also have limited access to on-site programs and nearby peers. Objective: This pilot aims to investigate the potential effects of a low-dose multiplayer virtual reality telegaming program on depression, socialization, and loneliness among a cohort of children with physical disabilities. A secondary aim is to describe feasibility metrics, namely, recruitment and adherence rates and perceived program enjoyment and satisfaction. The tertiary aim is to describe behavioral mechanisms that affect participant adherence and social participation in the classes. Methods: This study is a single-group pre- and posttest-designed trial. A single cohort of 12 children with physical disabilities will pilot a 1-month program that includes 2 supervised 1-hour sessions per week of group-based exergaming. Participants will complete questionnaires before and after the program. The primary aim measures will include the Children's Depression Inventory 2 Short Form, a measure of feelings of depression, and the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a measure of both loneliness and social isolation. Secondary aim measures will include three posttest Likert scale questionnaires: perceived program enjoyment, program satisfaction, and satisfaction with multiplayer experiences. At postintervention or dropout, participants will undergo semistructured interviews to identify behavioral mechanisms that underlie participation. Data will be reported descriptively and be supported by t tests as appropriate. Results: Recruitment procedures started in July 2022. All data are expected to be collected by January 2023. Full trial results are expected to be published by March 2023. Secondary analyses of data will be subsequently published. Conclusions: This trial tests a peer-to-peer virtual reality telegaming program that includes a completely remote enrollment, assessment, and intervention protocol. This program is accessible and short in duration and frequency, allowing it to be integrated into other interventions. Knowledge obtained from this study will inform the development of a larger trial for improving the mental health and well-being of adolescents with physical disabilities.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28478343
  • Author List

  • Lai B; Davis D; Young R; Swanson-Kimani E; Wozow C; Chaviano K; Rimmer JH
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 10