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International Journal on Disability and Human Development

Official journal of the the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Israel

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Volume 13, Issue 3


Using virtual environments for trigger identification in addiction treatment

Liam North
  • Business Development Team, Swanswell, Hilton House, Rugby, Warwickshire, UK
  • School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Chris Robinson
  • Business Development Team, Swanswell, Suite 5, Hilton House, Corporation Street, Rugby, CV21, 2DN, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Adrian Haffegee / Paul M. Sharkey / Faustina Hwang
Published Online: 2014-08-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd-2014-0330


This paper presents a novel application of virtual environments to assist in encouraging behavior change in individuals who misuse drugs or alcohol. We describe the user-centered design of a series of scenes to engage users in the identification of triggers and to encourage discussions about relevant coping skills. Results from the initial testing of this application with six service users showed variation in user responses. Results also suggested that the system should encourage group discussion and that it was linked to a small improvement in users’ confidence in understanding and identifying triggers.

Keywords: addiction; coping skills; relapse; serious games; virtual reality


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About the article

Corresponding author: Faustina Hwang, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AY, UK, E-mail:

Received: 2013-05-12

Accepted: 2013-07-03

Published Online: 2014-08-05

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: International Journal on Disability and Human Development, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 369–375, ISSN (Online) 2191-0367, ISSN (Print) 2191-1231, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd-2014-0330.

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