Integrating Socially Assistive Robotics into Mental Healthcare Interventions: Applications and Recommendations for Expanded Use

Social assistive robotics is not proposed as a replacement for specially trained and knowledgeable professionals nor is it seen as a panacea for all mental healthcare needs. Instead, robots can serve as clinical tools and assistants in a wide range of settings. Given the dramatic growth in this area, now is a critical moment for individuals in the mental healthcare community to become engaged in this research and steer it toward our field’s most pressing clinical needs.

Rabbitt, S. M., Kazdin, A. E., & Scassellati, B. (2014). Clinical Psychology Review. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2014.07.001

Socially Assistive Robots in Elderly Care: A Mixed-Method Systematic Literature Review

Eighty-six studies in 37 study groups have been included. The findings imply positive effects of SAR on elderly well-being. [...]This review revealed that SAR can potentially enhance elderly well-being and decrease the workload on caregivers.

Kachouie, R., Sedighadeli, S., Khosla, R., & Chu, M.-T. (2014). International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(5), 369–393. doi:10.1080/10447318.2013.873278

The effects of robot-enhanced psychotherapy: A meta-analysis

The results show that robot-enhanced therapy yielded a medium effect size overall and, specifically on the behavioral level, indicating that 69% of patients in the control groups did worse than the average number of participants in the intervention group. More studies are needed with regard to specific outcomes to prove the efficacy of robot-enhanced therapy, but the overall results clearly support the use of robot-enhanced therapy for different populations.

Costescu, C. A., Vanderborght, B., & David, D. O. (2014). Review of General Psychology, 18(2), 127–136. doi:10.1037/gpr0000007

A remote social robot to motivate and support diabetic children in keeping a diary

Results show that children shared significantly more personal experiences in their diaries when they were interacting with the robot. Furthermore, they greatly enjoyed working with the robot and came to see it as a helpful and supportive friend.

Van der Drift, E. J., Beun, R.-J., Looije, R., Blanson Henkemans, O. A., & Neerincx, M. A. (2014). In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction (pp. 463–470). ACM

Evaluation of a Small Socially-Assistive Humanoid Robot in Intelligent Homes for the Care of the Elderly

Results showed that the small humanoid robot was trusted by participants. [...] Participants might engage in an emotional relationship with the robot, but that perceived enjoyment might decrease over time.

Torta, E., Werner, F., Johnson, D. O., Juola, J. F., Cuijpers, R. H., Bazzani, M., … Bregman, J. (2014). Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, 1–15

Attitudes Towards Socially Assistive Robots in Intelligent Homes: Results From Laboratory Studies and Field Trials

Overall, results show that socially assistive robots positively affect user experience and motivation compared to standard smart environment interfaces such as touch screens. However, people still tend to prefer conventional interfaces for receiving information.

Torta, E., Oberzaucher, J., Werner, F., Cuijpers, R. H., & Juola, J. F. (2013). Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 1(2). doi:10.5898/JHRI.1.2.Torta