[ARTICLE] Impact of virtual reality games on psychological well-being and upper limb performance in adults with physical disabilities: A pilot study – Full Text PDF

ABSTRACT

Introduction: There is limited information regarding the effects of interactive virtual reality (VR) games on psychological and physical well-being among adults with physical disabilities. We aimed to examine the impact of VR games on psychological well-being, upper limb motor function and reaction time in adults with physical disabilities.

Methods: Fifteen participants completed the intervention using Wii VR games in this pilot study. Depressive, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) and Capabilities of Upper Extremity (CUE) questionnaires were used to measure psychological well-being and upper limb motor function respectively. Upper limb reaction time was measured using reaction time test.

Results: Results showed that there was a significant difference (p<0.05) in DASS questionnaire and average reaction time score after intervention.

Conclusion: There is a potential for using interactive VR games as an exercise tool to improve psychological wellbeing and upper limb reaction time among adults with disabilities.

INTRODUCTION

Adults with disabilities around the world have been estimated to be around one billion, which consist of 15% of the world’s population.1 In Malaysia, there are approximately 300,000 adults with disabilities.2 Impairments in cardiovascular fitness, balance, motor control, sensation, proprioception and coordination are common in adults with physical disabilities.3 These impairments can lead to functional dependence, poor quality of life, limited mobility and decreased participation in leisure activities.

Opportunities to participate in regular exercise are especially important for groups that are less physically active than the
general population. This is because adults with disabilities are more prone to secondary complications such as pain, fatigue and de-conditioning.4 Virtual reality (VR) games are games played in a stimulated 3-dimensional (3D) environment. VR games have been developed for leisure activities but we found VR to be beneficial for rehabilitation in our local studies.5-7

Involvement in physical activity among people with disabilities is limited. Utilisation of technology may promote adherence, motivation and participation in physical activity and exercise programmes. However, as opposed to conventional rehabilitation and physiotherapy for adults with disabilities, evidence of VR games in improving function is limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the impact of VR games on psychological well-being, upper limb motor function and reaction time in adults with physical disabilities. …

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