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

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6 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


We thank the participants and their mentor caregivers for contributing to this research. Furthermore, our gratitude goes to Frederique van der Giessen and Jolanda van der Lans for their assistance during data collection. We also thank Bartiméus for facilitating the research and Bartiméus Foundation for the Grant nr 2017075B.

FundersFunder number
Bartiméus Foundation2017075B


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


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