Social VR : a promising platform for enhancing mental wellness among college students

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You, Xinyue

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In recent decades, there has been an alarming increase in the number of university and college students struggling with intensifying psychological distress, which has become a mental health crisis on campuses. To address this issue, this study proposes social virtual reality (VR as a potential platform to promote social interaction and improve mental well-being for college students. In this study, 68 students explored a variety of social VR platforms in a classroom setting. Results showed that a virtual space, audio, avatar, communication types, and activities were key contributing features that facilitated social interaction among college students in social VR and have the potential to enhance mental wellness, and b the anonymous nature, communicative cues, and designated private areas provided by social VR platforms were effective in facilitating self-disclosure, indicating social VR’s potential in delivering mental health services such as individual and group counseling and therapy. This study provides evidence that social VR can enhance social interaction and communication while serving as a platform for professional mental health care, a venue that has yet to be explored in previous studies.



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