The feasibility and efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) was assessed in a single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Adults with autism spectrum disorder were randomized to VR-JIT (n = 16) or treatment-as-usual (TAU) (n = 10) groups. VR-JIT consisted of simulated job interviews with a virtual character and didactic training. Participants attended 90 % of laboratory-based training sessions, found VR-JIT easy to use and enjoyable, and they felt prepared for future interviews. VR-JIT participants had greater improvement during live standardized job interview role-play performances than TAU participants (p = 0.046). A similar pattern was observed for self-reported self-confidence at a trend level (p = 0.060). VR-JIT simulation performance scores increased over time (R 2 = 0.83). Results indicate preliminary support for the feasibility and efficacy of VR-JIT, which can be administered using computer software or via the internet.
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Support for this work was provided by a grant to Dr. Dale Olsen (R44 MH080496) from the National Institute of Mental Health with a subcontract to Dr. Michael Fleming at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. We would like to thank Dr. Zoran Martinovich for his consultation on the statistical analyses. The authors acknowledge research staff at Northwestern University’s Clinical Research Program for data collection and our participants for volunteering their time.
Conflict of interest
Drs. Smith, Lounds Taylor, and Fleming as well as Ms. Ginger, Ms. Wright, and Mr. Wright have no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to the subject of this study. Dr. Olsen and Ms Boteler Humm have owners equity in SIMmersion and Dr. Bell was a paid consultant by SIMmersion during the development of the intervention.
Appendix 1: Fidelity Checklist for Facilitator of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training
Appendix 2: Role-Play Interview Scoring
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Smith, M.J., Ginger, E.J., Wright, K. et al. Virtual Reality Job Interview Training in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 2450–2463 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2113-y