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.
Integrating Socially Assistive Robotics into Mental Healthcare Interventions: Applications and Recommendations for Expanded Use
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.
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.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF ROBOTS IN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.".
"Research has revealed that individuals with ASD (1) show strengths in understanding the physical, object-related world and weaknesses in understanding the social world, (2) are more responsive to feedback given by a computer than a human, and (3) are more interested in treatment involving technology/robots. [...] The end of this section includes a roadmap for future research on the clinical uses for robots in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with ASD."
TRENDS AND CONSIDERATIONS IN ROBOT-ASSISTED AUTISM THERAPY
"Recent research suggests that children with autism exhibit certain positive social behaviors while interacting with robots that are not observed while interacting with their peers, caregivers, and therapists. This paper explores trends in robot-assisted autism therapy, as well as some of the specific therapies that have been shown to elicit desirable social interactions when working with children with autism."
ROBOTS FOR USE IN AUTISM RESEARCH. ANNUAL REVIEW OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
"Research into applying robots as therapy tools has shown that robots seem to improve engagement and elicit novel social behaviors from people (particularly children and teenagers) with autism. [...] In this review, we discuss the past decade’s work in SAR systems designed for autism therapy by analyzing robot design decisions, human-robot interactions, and system evaluations. We conclude by discussing challenges and future trends for this young but rapidly developing research area."