Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review

  • Charity Ann Seitz Penn State Harrisburg
  • Senel Poyrazli Penn State Harrisburg
  • Marissa A Harrisson Penn State Harrisburg
  • Tara Flickinger Penn State Harrisburg
  • Maria Turkson Penn State Harrisburg


Military personnel in a war situation appear to be especially susceptible to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), given that a high number of recently deployed service members are diagnosed with the disorder. Exposure therapy is frequently used in the treatment of this population. To our knowledge, however, there are no detailed systematic reviews of a relatively new exposure therapy, virtual reality exposure (VRE), in the treatment of combat veterans with PTSD. Therefore, the present work provides a comprehensive, 15-year overview (1999 to 2013) of research on the therapeutic effectiveness of VRE in treating PTSD in military combat veterans. A considerable body of empirical evidence suggests that VRE can decrease PTSD symptoms within the veteran population and follow-up data do show promise for maintaining positive treatment outcomes. Further research is necessary to determine the long-term effects of this treatment.