JMIR Mental Health
Internet interventions, technologies and digital innovations for mental health and behaviour change
JMIR Mental Health focusses on digital health and Internet interventions, technologies and electronic innovations (software and hardware) for mental health, addictions, online counselling and behaviour change. This includes formative evaluation and system descriptions, theoretical papers, review papers, viewpoint/vision papers, and rigorous evaluations.
JMIR Mental Health publishes even faster and has a broader scope with including papers which are more technical or more formative/developmental than what would be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
JMIR Mental Health features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.
JMIR Mental Health adheres to the same quality standards as JMIR and all articles published here are also cross-listed in the Table of Contents of JMIR, the worlds' leading medical journal in health sciences / health services research and health informatics.
Editorial Board members are currently being recruited, please contact us if you are interested (jmir.editorial.office at gmail.com).
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Mental & Emotional Self-Help Technology Apps: Their Efficacy and Theoretical Mechanisms of Behavior Change
Date Submitted: Jan 5, 2017
Open Peer Review Period: Jan 6, 2017 - Mar 3, 2017
Background: Mental and emotional self-help apps have emerged as potential mental illness prevention and treatment tools. The health behavior theory mechanisms by which these apps influence mental hea...
Background: Mental and emotional self-help apps have emerged as potential mental illness prevention and treatment tools. The health behavior theory mechanisms by which these apps influence mental health-related behavior change has not been thoroughly examined. Objective: This study examines the theoretical mechanisms by which mental and emotional self-help apps change behavior. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 150 users of mental or emotional health apps in the past six months. Survey questions included theory-based items, app engagement and likeability items, and behavior change items. Stata version 14 was used to calculate all statistics. Descriptive statistics were calculated for each of the demographic, theory, engagement and behavior variables. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with reported changes in theory and separately for reported changes in actual behavior, after controlling for potentially confounding variables. Results: In multivariate regression analyses, engagement (P < .001) was positively associated with the reported changes in the theory items. In the multivariate regression model with behavior change as the dependent variable, theory was positively associated (p < .001) as were engagement (P = .004), frequency of app(s) use (P = .013), and income (P = .049). Conclusions: Participants’ reported that app use increased their motivation, desire to set goals, confidence, control, and intentions to be mentally and emotionally healthy. These increases in perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes surrounding their mental and emotional health were significantly associated with perceived change in behavior. There was a positive association between the level of engagement with the app(s) and the impact on theory items. Future efforts should consider the value of impacting key theoretical constructs when designing mental and emotional health apps. As apps are evaluated and additional theory-based apps are created, cost-effective self-help apps may become common preventative and treatment tools in the mental health field. Clinical Trial: N/A