Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Michael Blackstock

Second Advisor

Holly Grieves


This project looked at the differences in perceived and actual exertion in virtual reality therapy interventions and upper extremity ergometer. The goal of this project was to quantify the efficacy of virtual reality interventions as an alternative to more traditional upper extremity interventions. This project wanted to address the lack of research focused on perceived exertion in virtual reality interventions. The student objectives focused on conducting research, familiarizing oneself with the use of virtual reality in the in-patient setting, and dissemination of the results. This study found that there was no significant difference in perceived exertion scores, changes in heart rate, or changes in systolic blood pressure between virtual reality interventions and upper extremity ergometer interventions. However, virtual reality interventions were associated with a slight decrease in perceived exertion and a slight increase in heart rate and systolic blood pressure changes when compared to the upper extremity ergometer. This project shows that virtual reality interventions may be a viable alternative to more traditional upper extremity interventions as it does not show any adverse effects in perceived exertion.