Patients’ preferences regarding three computer-based exposure treatments for fear of flying

Juana Bretón-López, Miquel Tortella-Feliu, Antonio Riera del Amo, Rosa Baños, Jordi Llabrés, Joan M. Gelabert and Cristina Botella


This study analyses participants’ preferences regarding three computer- aided exposure treatments for fear of flying (FF): virtual reality exposure treatment assisted by a therapist (VRET), computer-aided exposure with a therapist present throughout exposure sessions (CAE-T), and self-administered computer-aided exposure (CAE-SA). Sixty participants with FF were randomly assigned to one of these treatments. At the end of a treatment, a demonstration of the other two treatment options was given and patients were asked to rate their preferences. At post-treatment, assessment data on treatment preferences were obtained from 48 participants (CAE-T n= 14; CAE-SA n= 16, and VRET n= 18). Participants favoured VRET as the most effective, the most recommended, but also they valued it as the most aversive. Attending to the specific treatment condition received by the participants, results showed that in VRET and CAE-T, participants assessed their own treatment as more preferred, more efficacious and more recommendable. Results suggest relevant features regarding the efficiency of computer-based treatments, and offer insights into improving computer-aided psychological interventions.