JMIR Mental Health
Internet interventions, technologies, and digital innovations for mental health and behavior change.
JMIR Mental Health (JMH, ISSN 2368-7959, Editor-in-Chief: John Torous, MD, MBI, Harvard Medical School, USA, Impact Factor: 4.39) is a premier SCIE/PubMed/Scopus-indexed, peer-reviewed journal with a unique focus on digital health/digital psychiatry/digital psychology/e-mental health, covering Internet/mobile interventions, technologies and electronic innovations (software and hardware) for mental health, including addictions, online counselling and behaviour change. This includes formative evaluation and system descriptions, theoretical papers, review papers, viewpoint/vision papers, and rigorous evaluations related to digital psychiatry, e-mental health, and clinical informatics in psychiatry/psychology. In June 2021, JMH received a substantially increased impact factor of 4.39.
JMIR Mental Health has an international author- and readership and welcomes submissions from around the world.
JMIR Mental Health features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.
Social media use is associated with poor sleep among adolescents, including daytime sleepiness, which affects adolescents’ mental health. Few studies have examined the associations among specific aspects of social media, such as frequency of checking and posting, perceived importance of social media for social belonging, and daytime sleepiness. Identifying whether certain adolescents are more at risk or protected from the effects of social media on sleepiness may inform future interventions for social media, sleep, and mental health.
Information shared via social media influences college students’ self-perceptions and behavior, particularly, “fitspiration” posts (ie, images of healthy food, people exercising, or fitness quotations). There are mixed findings regarding the mental health implications of fitspiration and its potential to motivate healthy behavior. Individual differences such as social comparison orientation and regulatory focus could aid in determining for whom fitspiration may be helpful versus harmful, though these characteristics have received limited attention in terms of students’ fitspiration perceptions.
During COVID-19, the psychological distress and well-being of the general population has been precarious, increasing the need to determine the impact of complementary internet-based psychological interventions on both positive mental health as well as distress states. Psychological distress and mental well-being represent distinct dimensions of our mental health, and congruent changes in outcomes of distress and well-being do not necessarily co-occur within individuals. When testing intervention impact, it is therefore important to assess change in both outcomes at the individual level, rather than solely testing group differences in average scores at the group level.
Although the literature on adolescent health includes studies that incorporate youth perspectives via a participatory design, research that is designed, conducted, and presented by youth remains absent. This paper presents the work of 5 youth investigators on the intersecting topics of adolescent health and social media. Each of these youths was equipped with tools, knowledge, and mentorship for scientifically evaluating a research question. The youths developed a research question that aligned with their interests and filled a gap that they identified in the literature. The youths, whose projects are featured in this paper, designed and conducted their own research project, drafted their own manuscript, and revised and resubmitted a draft based on reviewer input. Each youth worked with a research mentor; however, the research questions, study designs, and suggestions for future research were their own.
Conflicting data emerge from literature regarding the actual use of smartphone apps in medicine; some considered the introduction of smartphone apps in medicine to be a breakthrough, while others suggested that, in real-life, the use of smartphone apps in medicine is disappointingly low. Yet, digital tools become more present in medicine daily. To empower parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder, we developed the Smartautism smartphone app, which asks questions and provides feedback, using a screen with simple curves.
The transition to web-based learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to consider the benefits of and the risks associated with web-based technology for education, media use, and access to resources. Prior to the pandemic, children and adolescents had in-person access to peers; social relationships; educators; health care providers; and, in some cases, mental health resources and medical care in schools and community settings. Due to the introduction of universal masking and physical distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in early 2020, methods for accessing these resources have shifted dramatically, as people now rely on web-based platforms to access such resources. This viewpoint will explore equity in access to technology for web-based learning, mental health (with a focus on students of color), and the challenge of cultivating meaningful relationships on web-based platforms. Challenges and possible solutions will be offered.
Early adolescent years are marked by pervasive self- and peer-regulation regarding gender and sexuality norms, which can affect the mental well-being of sexual minority youth. During this developmental period, social media use is also emerging as a dominant mode of communication with peers, allowing for both risk and resilient behaviors that can impact well-being.
Given the growing number of adolescents exhibiting problematic internet use (PIU) and experiencing its harmful consequences, it is important to examine the factors associated with PIU. Existing research has identified perceived parental supportiveness and adolescents’ subjective mental well-being as strong predictors of PIU. However, it is unknown how these factors work together in shaping adolescents’ engagement in PIU.
Screenshots is an in-school curriculum that seeks to develop positive digital social skills in middle school students with the long-term goal of improving their health and well-being. The program imparts knowledge and teaches skills upon which young adolescents can build a set of beliefs and behaviors that foster respectful interactions, prosocial conflict resolutions, and safe and secure use of communication technology. Intervening in this way can improve young people’s mental health by limiting their exposure to cyberbullying and other forms of negative online interactions. This study reports on an evaluation of the Screenshots program conducted with seventh graders in a public school system in a midsized New England city.
Adolescents and young adults aged <25 years (youth) are at a higher risk of perinatal depression than older adults, and they experience elevated barriers to in-person care. Digital platforms such as social media offer an accessible avenue to deliver group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to perinatal youth.
Rather than confiding in adults about their mental health struggles, adolescents may use social media to disclose them to peers. Disclosure recipients are tasked with deciding whether to alert an adult and, if so, whom to alert. Few studies have examined how adolescents decide on a trusted adult to help a friend who posts on social media about his/her mental health struggles. Moreover, Latinx adolescents are underrepresented in research on social media use, which creates gaps in understanding how social media may influence their well-being.