Background: To test the preliminary impact and participant experience/satisfaction of Invite Only VR: A Vaping Prevention Game (Invite Only VR), an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) prevention game prototype using virtual reality (VR) hardware.
Methods: Forty-seven adolescents (38 boys; mean age = 14.23 years, SD = 0.914) were enrolled to test the preliminary impact of Invite Only VR on knowledge, perceived likelihood of using e-cigarettes, perceptions of harm, attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy to refuse e-cigarettes using a pre/post design. Experience/satisfaction was measured following gameplay. Paired-samples t-tests and associated effect sizes were used to assess changes in the dependent variables. Descriptive statistics were used to report on gameplay experience/satisfaction.
Results: From pre- to post-gameplay, players significantly increased in knowledge (t(34) = -5.594, p < .001, Cohen's d = 0.946) and perceptions of e-cigarette harm (t(34) = -3.370, p = .002, Cohen's d = 0.530) and decreased their perceived likelihood of using e-cigarettes in the future (t(35) = 2.140, p = .039, Cohen's d = 1.274). No significant change was found for attitudes towards e-cigarettes, social norm perceptions, nor refusal self-efficacy. Participants reported that they enjoyed playing the game (M = 3.00, SD = 0.99) and that they would tell their friends to play (M = 3.08, SD = 0.91).
Conclusions: Invite Only VR may help players develop knowledge and correct harm perceptions regarding e-cigarettes while reducing their perceived likelihood of using them in the future. Participant enjoyment also provides an initial indication that the intervention may be acceptable for use with adolescents.