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A future orientation intervention delivered through a smartphone application and virtual reality: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Short-term mindsets are associated with self-defeating behaviors, such as delinquency and alcohol use. In contrast, people who consider the longer-term consequences of their decisions tend to report positive outcomes, like feeling more competent and enhanced goal achievement. ...

Published onDec 20, 2022
A future orientation intervention delivered through a smartphone application and virtual reality: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
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A future orientation intervention delivered through a smartphone application and virtual reality: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
A future orientation intervention delivered through a smartphone application and virtual reality: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
Description

Short-term mindsets are associated with self-defeating behaviors, such as delinquency and alcohol use. In contrast, people who consider the longer-term consequences of their decisions tend to report positive outcomes, like feeling more competent and enhanced goal achievement. We evaluate an intervention, FutureU, that aims to stimulate future-oriented thinking, increase goal achievement, and reduce self-defeating behavior, by strengthening people’s identification with their future self. The intervention will be delivered through a smartphone application (app) or immersive Virtual Reality (VR). We test the effectiveness of FutureU for both delivery methods, examine working mechanisms, and identify potential moderators of intervention effects. In this Randomized Controlled Trial, a total of 240 first-year university students (n = 80 per condition) will be randomized into one of three conditions: (1) a smartphone condition, (2) a VR condition, and (3) an active control condition. We will assess proximal (i.e., future self-identification) and distal intervention outcomes (e.g., future orientation, self-defeating behaviors, goal achievement), user engagement, and examine usage data and goal content. Assessments will take place at baseline, during the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and at 3- and 6-months follow-up. This study will provide information on the effectiveness of the intervention and allows for comparisons between delivery methods using novel technologies, a smartphone app versus immersive VR. Knowledge gained through this study can be used for further intervention development as well as theory building. Trial registration This trial is registered on Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05578755) on 13 October 2022.

 

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