An experiment of the effects of Virtual Reality on stress reduction

In the current fast-paced digital landscape, individuals frequently encounter stress and anxiety due to various reasons such as financial obligations, workload, and overwhelming digital connectivity; it is even assumed that individuals’ stress exposures will increase further in the future.

Our study investigates the effects of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) environments on stress reduction by comparing it to non- immersive environments, while integrating creative arts therapy and breathing exercises. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design and difference in difference (DiD), the study observes two participant groups: one experiencing a VR-based intervention and the other a non-immersive control environment (Desktop). Within each group data collection included pre- and post-intervention surveys, along with heartbeat variability measurements, to assess stress levels subjectively and objectively.

The results suggest that both environments can mitigate stress. However, the non-immersive environment has more statistically significant results in reducing stress compared to the immersive environments. This may be attributed to immersive environments being overstimulating, users' readiness to the immersive technology, and the user experience offered by the VR headset employed in the study. Overall, this research highlights the potential of both of immersive and non- immersive environments as modern tools for enhancing stress reduction. Future research could explore long-term effects and more diverse demographic to better understand the immersive environments impact on stress reduction and management.