Robot-mediated therapy to reduce worrying in persons with visual and intellectual disabilities

Evelien van Wingerden (Corresponding author), Emilia Barakova, Tino Lourens, Paula S. Sterkenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The study explored the use of a robot-mediated therapeutic intervention in persons with visual and intellectual disabilities. Method: Three robot-mediated intervention sessions were developed to teach three coping skills for worrying. Effectiveness was examined using a multiple-baseline case study design (N = 7). Baseline, pre-intervention and post-intervention assessments included social validity, severity of worrying (PSWQ-C-NL), and observations by caregivers (SDQ). Short checklists on worrying were repeated throughout baseline and intervention stages. Transcripts of the sessions were analysed for participants’ emotional openness. Results: Social validity was equally high before and after the intervention. The intervention did not impact the severity of worrying, although mentor caregivers reported a lower impact of personal difficulties for participants. We found no change in self-disclosure towards the robot over sessions. Conclusions: The participants’ positive responses warrant further exploration of using robot-mediated therapy for persons with visual and intellectual disabilities. Recommendations for additional adaptations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Sep 2020


  • e-health
  • intellectual disabilities
  • robot-mediated intervention
  • visual impairment
  • worrying

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