Aus Aifbportal
Wechseln zu:Navigation, Suche

Avartars in Digital Mental Health Interventions

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Bachelor, Master
Supervisor: Shanshan Hu
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 5.106
Status of Thesis: Open
Date of start: 2023-10-26

Further Information


The integration of avatars in digital health represents a transformative wave, promising to elevate healthcare accessibility and embrace a patient-centric approach. Avatars refer to digital entities with an anthropomorphic appearance that represent human beings or embodied agents and that have the ability to interact with other entities or virtual environments. Within the extensive body of research, avatars have emerged as versatile tools in mental health treatments, serving diverse roles to yield profound health-related outcomes. For instance, they can act as (semi-)autonomous virtual therapists to facilitate a sense of social presence for individuals, thereby enhancing the communication between patients and mental health professionals. Previous studies have engaged with empirical evidence for the impact of avatars on different application scenarios within the mental health domain. However, mixed results were found for the effectiveness of avatars in mental health interventions. In light of this, further investigation regarding when and how avatars can optimally serve the mental health treatments, serving as a compass for both researchers and practitioners in navigating this evolving landscape.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

- Review of avatars used in digital mental health interventions - Review of applicable theories for the explaination of avatars' role in digital mental health interventions - Experimental design on the effects of avatars in digital mental health interventions (e.g., the relationship between the design of digital therapists and the therapeutic alliance).

This is an umbrella topic since topics of interest change rapidly. A specific topic will be selected during a first meeting.

Introductory literature:

- Lattie, E.G.; Stiles-Shields, C.; and Graham, A.K. An overview of and recommendations for more accessible digital mental health services. Nature Reviews Psychology, 1, 2 (2022), 87-100.

- Rehm, I.C.; Foenander, E.; Wallace, K.; Abbott, J.-A.M.; Kyrios, M.; and Thomas, N. What role can avatars play in e-mental health interventions? Exploring new models of client–therapist interaction. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7, (2016), 186.

- Rheu, M.; Jang, Y.; and Peng, W. Enhancing healthy behaviors through virtual self: A systematic review of health interventions using avatars. Games for Health Journal, 9, 2 (2020), 85-94.