Design, Development, and Testing of a Virtual Relaxation Environment to Reduce Stress in Teens (RESeT)
- Elin Björling, PhD, Research Scientist/Lecturer, Human Centered Design and Engineering
- Jennifer Sonney, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Child Nursing
Adolescents are the most stressed generation, with almost a third of teens reporting very high levels of daily stress. Chronic stress is associated with adverse physiological (e.g., immune dysregulation, obesity) and psychological (e.g., anxiety, depression) health outcomes and negatively impacts learning and memory. For many students, school is the only access point for mental health services, but accessible and scalable stress interventions for teens are lacking or too costly for schools to implement. Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI) have demonstrated efficacy in improving self-regulation and stress-related health outcomes, and virtual reality (VR) holds promise as a self-administered, immersive platform to deliver mindfulness interventions. Therefore, development of a school-based, self-administered mindfulness intervention is an ideal solution to support vulnerable adolescents by reducing their stress. The purpose of this project is to design, build and pilot test three MBI components into a self-administered virtual reality environment, Relaxation for Stress in Teens (RESeT), to reduce teen stress. The specific aims are to: (1) Iteratively design and build three MBI components into a virtual reality environment to reduce teen stress and (2) Evaluate the feasibility, satisfaction and preliminary efficacy of RESeT. This project aligns with the UW ALACRITY mission by: (1) proposing a novel adaptation to an evidence-based intervention and (2) engaging a multidisciplinary team including end-users to (3) address a critical health problem (teen stress).