Virtual reality for public health: a study on a VR intervention to enhance occupational injury prevention

Kang Namkoong, Junhan Chen, John Leach, Yongwook Song, Stacy Vincent, Alex P. Byrd, Joan Mazur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in the USA. Especially, tractor rollover incidents are the leading cause of farming-related injuries or deaths. This study examines the effect of a VR intervention (Virtual Reality Intervention for Safety Education; VRISE) on behavioral intentions for occupational safety and identifies a psychological mechanism that shows how the immersive technology works. METHODS: VRISE was developed by a multidisciplinary team of agricultural educators, computer scientists and communication specialists. It was designed to provide a virtual environment where users practice tractor operation and try to avoid several rollover hazards. The participants (291 high school students) were recruited at the 2019 National Future Farmers Association Convention & Expo and randomly assigned to one of three conditions: two different types of control groups (Control1: No treatment group and Control2: 2D Screen group) and the treatment group. RESULTS: Findings show that, through the immersive VR experience, the VR intervention enhanced perceived threat of tractor-related accidents which in turn, led to improved behavioral intentions for tractor safety. CONCLUSIONS: Findings shed light on the effectiveness of a VR intervention to improve public health outcomes, especially in occupational safety education, where unsafe practices often result in injury and fatality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 14 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].


  • Agricultural Injury Prevention
  • Experience of Immersion
  • Occupational Safety
  • Tractor Rollover
  • Virtual Reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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