National Research Council of Canada. Medical Devices
Emotion regulation is an ability related to psychological well-being; when dysregulated, individuals may have psychiatric symptoms and maladapted physiological responses. Cognitive behavioural therapy combined with virtual reality (VR-CBT or CBT-VR) is an effective psychotherapy to target and strengthen emotion regulation, but currently lacks cultural sensitivity and could be improved by adapting it to the cultural context of service users.
We describe a protocol for a proof-of-concept two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) with n=40 Inuit in Quebec.
In a ten-week intervention, Inuit aged 14-60 will receive a culturally adapted VR-CBT with biofeedback or self-guided VR relaxation program. The trial will assess emotion regulation with objective and subjective measures at baseline, throughout and after the treatment and at a 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome is measured by the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS-16) and a novel psychophysiological reactivity paradigm. Secondary measures include psychological symptoms and wellbeing via rating scales.
The proposed study responds to community desire for accessible and appropriate resources for psychological well-being, as it was developed in active collaboration with the Inuit community in Quebec. We compare a culturally adapted psychotherapy to a commercial self-management program, incorporate novel technology and measurement, and fulfill needs for RCT evidence of culturally adapted psychotherapies.