Efficacy of the Virtual Reality Intervention VR FestLab on Alcohol Refusal Self-Efficacy: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial

Julie Dalgaard Guldager, Satayesh Lavasani Kjær, Ulrike Grittner, Christiane Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

It is currently unknown whether a virtual social environment can support young people in building their skills to overcome peer pressure when offered alcohol. This study evaluated the efficacy of the newly developed virtual reality simulation game VR FestLab on the refusal self-efficacy regarding social pressures to drink of Danish male and female students aged 15–18. VR FestLab features a party setting where adolescents can “steer” their own party experience. Eleven schools were included in a cluster-randomized controlled trial and allocated to either the intervention (n = 181) or the active control group (n = 191). Students in intervention schools played VR FestLab, while those in the control group played the VR game Oculus Quest—First Steps. The primary outcome measure was the social pressure subscale of the drinking refusal self-efficacy scale (DRSEQ-RA). The intervention effects were measured immediately after the intervention/control session (T1) and after a 6-week follow-up (T2). Data were examined using linear mixed regression models. Our study did not demonstrate a significant effect of drinking refusal self-efficacy at T1. For all secondary outcomes, we observed no substantial differences between the intervention and control groups. This study provides new insights into the feasibility and effectiveness of an innovative virtual reality alcohol prevention tool. VR FestLab can be an innovative and promising contribution to complement existing school-based alcohol prevention, but more research is needed to improve its effectiveness
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022

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