Determinants of Cue-Elicited Alcohol Craving and Perceived Realism in Virtual Reality Environments among Patients with Alcohol Use Disorder

O. Hernández-Serrano, Alexandra Ghita, J. Fernández-Ruiz, M. Monras, A Gual, M. Gacto-Sanchez, B. Porras-García, M. Ferrer-García, J. Gutiérrez-Maldonado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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The identification of variables that can modulate the efficacy of cue exposure using virtual reality (VR) is crucial. This study aimed to explore determinant variables of cue-elicited alcohol craving and perceived realism (PR) of environments and alcoholic beverages during a VR cue-exposure session among alcohol use disorder (AUD) outpatients. A prospective cohort study was conducted amongst 72 outpatients with AUD from a clinical setting. Alcohol craving experienced during VR exposure and PR of virtual environments and alcoholic drinks were evaluated after a VR session of exposure to alcohol-related contexts and cues. Sociodemographic, psychological and consumption characteristics were examined as possible predicting variables. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that the AUD severity and PR of beverages were predictors of cue-elicited alcohol craving. Educational level, PR of beverages and age were predictors of the PR of VR environments. In relation to the PR of VR beverages, cue-elicited alcohol craving and the PR of environments were predictors. A simple mediational model was also performed to analyze the influence of the PR of beverages on the relationship between the AUD severity and alcohol craving experienced during VR exposure: an indirect or mediational effect was found. PR of alcoholic beverages was (1) a key predictor of the PR of VR environments (and vice versa) and the alcohol craving (and vice versa) experienced during VR cue-exposure sessions using ALCO-VR software among AUD patients and (2) a mediator between AUD severity and cue-elicited alcohol craving
Original languageEnglish
Article number2241
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Perceived realism
  • Alcohol craving
  • Cue exposure
  • Virtual Reality


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