Virtual reality job interview training for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

Matthew J. Smith*, Laura Boteler Humm, Michael F. Fleming, Neil Jordan, Michael A. Wright, Emily J. Ginger, Katherine Wright, Dale Olsen, Morris D. Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have low employment rates and the job interview presents a critical barrier for them to obtain competitive employment. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) among veterans with PTSD via a small randomized controlled trial (n = 23 VR-JIT trainees, n = 10 waitlist treatment-as-usual (TAU) controls). METHODS: VR-JIT trainees completed up to 10 hours of simulated job interviews and reviewed information and tips about job interviewing, while wait-list TAU controls received services as usual. Primary outcome measures included two pre-test and two post-test video-recorded role-play interviews scored by blinded human resource experts and self-reported interviewing self-confidence. RESULTS: Trainees attended 95% of lab-based VR-JIT sessions and found the intervention easy-to-use, helpful, and prepared them for future interviews. VR-JIT trainees demonstrated significantly greater improvement on role-play interviews compared with wait-list TAU controls (p = 0.04) and demonstrated a large effect for within-subject change (Cohen's d = 0.76). VR-JIT performance scores increased significantly over time (R-Squared = 0.76). Although VR-JIT trainees showed a moderate effect for within-subject change on self-confidence (Cohen's d = 0.58), the observed difference between conditions did not reach significance (p = 0.09). CONCLUSIONS: Results provide preliminary support that VR-JIT is acceptable to trainees and may be efficacious for improving job interview skills and self-confidence in veterans with PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • Veterans
  • job interview skills
  • virtual reality training
  • vocational training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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