Immersive virtual reality for improving cognitive deficits in children with ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Niamh. Corrigan, Costina-Ruxandra Păsărelu, Alexandra Voinescu

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Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) shows great potential in treating and managing various mental health conditions. This includes using VR for training or rehabilitation purposes. For example, VR is being used to improve cognitive functioning (e.g. attention) among children with attention/deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The aim of the current review and meta-analysis is to evaluate the effectiveness of immersive VR-based interventions for improving cognitive deficits in children with ADHD, to investigate potential moderators of the effect size and assess treatment adherence and safety. The meta-analysis included seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of children with ADHD comparing immersive VR-based interventions with controls (e.g. waiting list, medication, psychotherapy, cognitive training, neurofeedback and hemoencephalographic biofeedback) on measures of cognition. Results indicated large effect sizes in favour of VR-based interventions on outcomes of global cognitive functioning, attention, and memory. Neither intervention length nor participant age moderated the effect size of global cognitive functioning. Control group type (active vs passive control group), ADHD diagnostic status (formal vs. informal) and novelty of VR technology were not significant moderators of the effect size of global cognitive functioning. Treatment adherence was similar across groups and there were no adverse effects. Results should be cautiously interpreted given the poor quality of included studies and small sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3545-3564
Number of pages20
JournalVirtual Reality
Volume27
Issue number4
Early online date18 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

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Data Availability Statement

Data will be made available on reasonable request.

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Children
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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