Adults are constantly exposed to stressful conditions at their workplace, and this can lead to decreased job performance followed by detrimental clinical health problems. Advancement of sensor technologies has allowed the electroencephalography (EEG) devices to be portable and used in real-time to monitor mental health. However, real-time monitoring is not often practical in workplace environments with complex operations such as kindergarten, firefighting and offshore facilities. Integrating the EEG with virtual reality (VR) that emulates workplace conditions can be a tool to assess and monitor mental health of adults within their working environment. This paper evaluates the mental states induced when performing a stressful task in a VR-based offshore environment. The theta, alpha and beta frequency bands are analysed to assess changes in mental states due to physical discomfort, stress and concentration. During the VR trials, mental states of discomfort and disorientation are observed with the drop of theta activity, whilst the stress induced from the conditional tasks is reflected in the changes of low-alpha and high-beta activities. The deflection of frontal alpha asymmetry from negative to positive direction reflects the learning effects from emotion-focus to problem-solving strategies adopted to accomplish the VR task. This study highlights the need for an integrated VR-EEG system in workplace settings as a tool to monitor and assess mental health of working adults.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.