JMIR Publications

JMIR Mental Health

Internet interventions, technologies and digital innovations for mental health and behaviour change

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Journal Description

JMIR Mental Health (JMH, ISSN 2368-7959) is a new spin-off journal of JMIR, the leading eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2015: 4.532). 

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).

 

Recent Articles:

  • Doctor With Tablet. Image source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=164023&picture=doctor-with-tablet. Author: George Hodan. Copyright: Public Domain.

    Tips and Traps: Lessons From Codesigning a Clinician E-Monitoring Tool for Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Abstract:

    Background: Computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) is an acceptable and promising treatment modality for adolescents with mild-to-moderate depression. Many cCBT programs are standalone packages with no way for clinicians to monitor progress or outcomes. We sought to develop an electronic monitoring (e-monitoring) tool in consultation with clinicians and adolescents to allow clinicians to monitor mood, risk, and treatment adherence of adolescents completing a cCBT program called SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts). Objective: The objectives of our study were as follows: (1) assess clinicians’ and adolescents’ views on using an e-monitoring tool and to use this information to help shape the development of the tool and (2) assess clinician experiences with a fully developed version of the tool that was implemented in their clinical service. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study using semistructured focus groups was conducted in New Zealand. In total, 7 focus groups included clinicians (n=50) who worked in primary care, and 3 separate groups included adolescents (n=29). Clinicians were general practitioners (GPs), school guidance counselors, clinical psychologists, youth workers, and nurses. Adolescents were recruited from health services and a high school. Focus groups were run to enable feedback at 3 phases that corresponded to the consultation, development, and postimplementation stages. Thematic analysis was applied to transcribed responses. Results: Focus groups during the consultation and development phases revealed the need for a simple e-monitoring registration process with guides for end users. Common concerns were raised in relation to clinical burden, monitoring risk (and effects on the therapeutic relationship), alongside confidentiality or privacy and technical considerations. Adolescents did not want to use their social media login credentials for e-monitoring, as they valued their privacy. However, adolescents did want information on seeking help and personalized monitoring and communication arrangements. Postimplementation, clinicians who had used the tool in practice revealed no adverse impact on the therapeutic relationship, and adolescents were not concerned about being e-monitored. Clinicians did need additional time to monitor adolescents, and the e-monitoring tool was used in a different way than was originally anticipated. Also, it was suggested that the registration process could be further streamlined and integrated with existing clinical data management systems, and the use of clinician alerts could be expanded beyond the scope of simply flagging adolescents of concern. Conclusions: An e-monitoring tool was developed in consultation with clinicians and adolescents. However, the study revealed the complexity of implementing the tool in clinical practice. Of salience were privacy, parallel monitoring systems, integration with existing electronic medical record systems, customization of the e-monitor, and preagreed monitoring arrangements between clinicians and adolescents.

  • Computer problems. Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/7658225516. Author: CollegeDegrees360. Copyright: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.

    Using Real-Time Social Media Technologies to Monitor Levels of Perceived Stress and Emotional State in College Students: A Web-Based Questionnaire Study

    Abstract:

    Background: College can be stressful for many freshmen as they cope with a variety of stressors. Excess stress can negatively affect both psychological and physical health. Thus, there is a need to find innovative and cost-effective strategies to help identify students experiencing high levels of stress to receive appropriate treatment. Social media use has been rapidly growing, and recent studies have reported that data from these technologies can be used for public health surveillance. Currently, no studies have examined whether Twitter data can be used to monitor stress level and emotional state among college students. Objective: The primary objective of our study was to investigate whether students’ perceived levels of stress were associated with the sentiment and emotions of their tweets. The secondary objective was to explore whether students’ emotional state was associated with the sentiment and emotions of their tweets. Methods: We recruited 181 first-year freshman students aged 18-20 years at University of California, Los Angeles. All participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed their demographic characteristics, levels of stress, and emotional state for the last 7 days. All questionnaires were completed within a 48-hour period. All tweets posted by the participants from that week (November 2 to 8, 2015) were mined and manually categorized based on their sentiment (positive, negative, neutral) and emotion (anger, fear, love, happiness) expressed. Ordinal regressions were used to assess whether weekly levels of stress and emotional states were associated with the percentage of positive, neutral, negative, anger, fear, love, or happiness tweets. Results: A total of 121 participants completed the survey and were included in our analysis. A total of 1879 tweets were analyzed. A higher level of weekly stress was significantly associated with a greater percentage of negative sentiment tweets (beta=1.7, SE 0.7; P=.02) and tweets containing emotions of fear (beta=2.4, SE 0.9; P=.01) and love (beta=3.6, SE 1.4; P=.01). A greater level of anger was negatively associated with the percentage of positive sentiment (beta=–1.6, SE 0.8; P=.05) and tweets related to the emotions of happiness (beta=–2.2, SE 0.9; P=.02). A greater level of fear was positively associated with the percentage of negative sentiment (beta=1.67, SE 0.7; P=.01), particularly a greater proportion of tweets related to the emotion of fear (beta=2.4, SE 0.8; P=.01). Participants who reported a greater level of love showed a smaller percentage of negative sentiment tweets (beta=–1.3, SE 0.7; P=0.05). Emotions of happiness were positively associated with the percentage of tweets related to the emotion of happiness (beta=–1.8, SE 0.8; P=.02) and negatively associated with percentage of negative sentiment tweets (beta=–1.7, SE 0.7; P=.02) and tweets related to the emotion of fear (beta=–2.8, SE 0.8; P=.01). Conclusions: Sentiment and emotions expressed in the tweets have the potential to provide real-time monitoring of stress level and emotional well-being in college students.

  • Using internet to get information about the psychotic disorders. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    How Do People Experiencing Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders or Other Psychotic Disorders Use the Internet to Get Information on Their Mental Health?...

    Abstract:

    Background: Studies show that the Internet has become an influential source of information for people experiencing serious psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders or other psychotic disorders, among which the rate of Internet users is growing, with rates ranging from 33.3% to 79.5% given the country. Between 20.5% and 56.4% of these Internet users seek mental health information. Objective: Focusing on this population’s Web searches about their mental health, this paper examines what type of content they look for and what could be the benefits and disadvantages of this navigation. Methods: We conducted a literature review through medical and psychological databases between 2000 and 2015 using the keywords “Internet,” “Web,” “virtual,” “health information,” “schizophrenia,” “psychosis,” “e-mental health,” “e-support,” and “telepsychiatry.” Results: People experiencing schizophrenia spectrum disorders or other psychotic disorders wish to find on the Internet trustful, nonstigmatizing information about their disease, flexibility, security standards, and positive peer-to-peer exchanges. E-mental health also appears to be desired by a substantial proportion of them. In this field, the current developments towards intervention and early prevention in the areas of depression and bipolar and anxiety disorders become more and more operational for schizophrenia spectrum disorders and other psychotic disorders as well. The many benefits of the Internet as a source of information and support, such as empowerment, enhancement of self-esteem, relief from peer information, better social interactions, and more available care, seem to outbalance the difficulties. Conclusions: In this paper, after discussing the challenges related to the various aspects of the emergence of the Internet into the life of people experiencing schizophrenia spectrum disorders or other psychotic disorders, we will suggest areas of future research and practical recommendations for this major transition.

  • A menu page from Healthy Paths. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Developing an Unguided Internet-Delivered Intervention for Emotional Distress in Primary Care Patients: Applying Common Factor and Person-Based Approaches

    Abstract:

    Background: Developing effective, unguided Internet interventions for mental health represents a challenge. Without structured human guidance, engagement with these interventions is often limited and the effectiveness reduced. If their effectiveness can be increased, they have great potential for broad, low-cost dissemination. Improving unguided Internet interventions for mental health requires a renewed focus on the proposed underlying mechanisms of symptom improvement and the involvement of target users from the outset. Objective: The aim of our study was to develop an unguided e-mental health intervention for distress in primary care patients, drawing on meta-theory of psychotherapeutic change and utilizing the person-based approach (PBA) to guide iterative qualitative piloting with patients. Methods: Common factors meta-theory informed the selection and structure of therapeutic content, enabling flexibility whilst retaining the proposed necessary ingredients for effectiveness. A logic model was designed outlining intervention components and proposed mechanisms underlying improvement. The PBA provided a framework for systematically incorporating target-user perspective into the intervention development. Primary care patients (N=20) who had consulted with emotional distress in the last 12 months took part in exploratory qualitative interviews, and a subsample (n=13) undertook think-aloud interviews with a prototype of the intervention. Results: A flexible intervention was developed, to be used as and when patients need, diverting from a more traditional, linear approach. Based on the in-depth qualitative findings, disorder terms such as “depression” were avoided, and discussions of psychological symptoms were placed in the context of stressful life events. Think-aloud interviews showed that patients were positive about the design and structure of the intervention. On the basis of patient feedback, modifications were made to increase immediate access to all therapeutic techniques. Conclusions: Detailing theoretical assumptions underlying Internet interventions for mental health, and integrating this approach with systematic in-depth qualitative research with target patients is important. These strategies may provide novel ways for addressing the challenges of unguided delivery. The resulting intervention, Healthy Paths, will be evaluated in primary care-based randomized controlled trials, and deployed as a massive open online intervention (MOOI).

  • One of the social cognition exercises used in Creating Live Interactions to Mitigate Barriers (CLIMB). Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Creating Live Interactions to Mitigate Barriers (CLIMB): A Mobile Intervention to Improve Social Functioning in People With Chronic Psychotic Disorders

    Abstract:

    Background: Numerous psychosocial interventions for individuals with chronic psychotic disorders (CPD) have shown positive effects on social cognitive and functional outcome measures. However, access to and engagement with these interventions remains limited. This is partly because these interventions require specially trained therapists, are not available in all clinical settings, and have a high scheduling burden for participants, usually requiring a commitment of several weeks. Delivering interventions remotely via mobile devices may facilitate access, improve scheduling flexibility, and decrease participant burden, thus improving adherence to intervention requirements. To address these needs, we designed the Creating Live Interactions to Mitigate Barriers (CLIMB) digital intervention, which aims to enhance social functioning in people with CPD. CLIMB consists of two treatment components: a computerized social cognition training (SCT) program and optimized remote group therapy (ORGT). ORGT is an innovative treatment that combines remote group therapy with group texting (short message service, SMS). Objectives: The objectives of this single-arm study were to investigate the feasibility of delivering 6 weeks of CLIMB to people with CPD and explore the initial effects on outcomes. Methods: Participants were recruited, screened and enrolled via the Internet, and delivered assessments and interventions remotely using provided tablets (iPads). Participants were asked to complete 18 hours of SCT and to attend 6 remote group therapy sessions. To assess feasibility, adherence to study procedures, attrition rates, engagement metrics, and acceptability of the intervention were evaluated. Changes on measures of social cognition, quality of life, and symptoms were also explored. Results: In total, 27 participants were enrolled over 12 months. Remote assessments were completed successfully on 96% (26/27) of the enrolled participants. Retention in the 6-week trial was 78% (21/27). Of all the iPads used, 95% (22/23) were returned undamaged at the end of the intervention. Participants on average attended 84% of the group therapy sessions, completed a median of 9.5 hours of SCT, and posted a median of 5.2 messages per week on the group text chat. Participants rated CLIMB in the medium range in usability, acceptability, enjoyment, and perceived benefit. Participants showed significant improvements in emotion identification abilities for prosodic happiness (P=.001), prosodic happiness intensity (P=.04), and facial anger (P=.04), with large within-group effect sizes (d=.60 to d=.86). Trend-level improvements were observed on aspects of quality of life (P values less than .09). No improvements were observed for symptoms. Conclusions: It is feasible and acceptable to remotely deliver an intervention aimed at enhancing social functioning in people with CPD using mobile devices. This approach may represent a scalable method to increase treatment access and adherence. Our pilot data also demonstrate within-group gains in some aspects of social cognition after 6 weeks of CLIMB. Future randomized controlled studies in larger samples should evaluate the extent to which CLIMB significantly improves social cognition, symptoms, and quality of life in CPD.

  • CopeSmart. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Ecological Momentary Assessment of Adolescent Problems, Coping Efficacy, and Mood States Using a Mobile Phone App: An Exploratory Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Mobile technologies have the potential to be used as innovative tools for conducting research on the mental health and well-being of young people. In particular, they have utility for carrying out ecological momentary assessment (EMA) research by capturing data from participants in real time as they go about their daily lives. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the utility of a mobile phone app as a means of collecting EMA data pertaining to mood, problems, and coping efficacy in a school-based sample of Irish young people. Methods: The study included a total of 208 participants who were aged 15-18 years, 64% female (113/208), recruited from second-level schools in Ireland, and who downloaded the CopeSmart mobile phone app as part of a randomized controlled trial. On the app, participants initially responded to 5 single-item measures of key protective factors in youth mental health (formal help-seeking, informal help-seeking, sleep, exercise, and sense of belonging). They were then encouraged to use the app daily to input data relating to mood states (happiness, sadness, anger, stress, and worry), daily problems, and coping self-efficacy. The app automatically collected data pertaining to user engagement over the course of the 28-day intervention period. Students also completed pen and paper questionnaires containing standardized measures of emotional distress (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale; DASS-21), well-being (World Health Organization Well-Being Index; WHO-5), and coping (Coping Strategies Inventory; CSI). Results: On average the participants completed 18% (5/28) of daily ratings, and engagement levels did not differ across gender, age, school, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or nationality. On a scale of 1 to 10, happiness was consistently the highest rated mood state (overall mean 6.56), and anger was consistently the lowest (overall mean 2.11). Pearson correlations revealed that average daily ratings of emotional states were associated with standardized measures of emotional distress (rhappiness=–.45, rsadness=.51, ranger=.32, rstress=.41, rworry=.48) and well-being (rhappiness=.39, rsadness =–.43, ranger=–.27, rstress=–.35, rworry=–.33). Inferential statistics indicated that single-item indicators of key protective factors were related to emotional distress, well-being, and average daily mood states, as measured by EMA ratings. Hierarchical regressions revealed that greater daily problems were associated with more negative daily mood ratings (all at the P<.001 level); however, when coping efficacy was taken into account, the relationship between problems and happiness, sadness, and anger became negligible. Conclusions: While engagement with the app was low, overall the EMA data collected in this exploratory study appeared valid and provided useful insights into the relationships between daily problems, coping efficacy, and mood states. Future research should explore ways to increase engagement with EMA mobile phone apps in adolescent populations to maximize the amount of data captured by these tools. Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02265978; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02265978 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6mMeYqseA).

  • MoodPrism. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors Rickard, N, Arjmand, H, Bakker, D, Seabrook, E.

    Development of a Mobile Phone App to Support Self-Monitoring of Emotional Well-Being: A Mental Health Digital Innovation

    Abstract:

    Background: Emotional well-being is a primary component of mental health and well-being. Monitoring changes in emotional state daily over extended periods is, however, difficult using traditional methodologies. Providing mental health support is also challenging when approximately only 1 in 2 people with mental health issues seek professional help. Mobile phone technology offers a sustainable means of enhancing self-management of emotional well-being. Objective: This paper aims to describe the development of a mobile phone tool designed to monitor emotional changes in a natural everyday context and in real time. Methods: This evidence-informed mobile phone app monitors emotional mental health and well-being, and it provides links to mental health organization websites and resources. The app obtains data via self-report psychological questionnaires, experience sampling methodology (ESM), and automated behavioral data collection. Results: Feedback from 11 individuals (age range 16-52 years; 4 males, 7 females), who tested the app over 30 days, confirmed via survey and focus group methods that the app was functional and usable. Conclusions: Recommendations for future researchers and developers of mental health apps to be used for research are also presented. The methodology described in this paper offers a powerful tool for a range of potential mental health research studies and provides a valuable standard against which development of future mental health apps should be considered.

  • Social Media Networking. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Social Networking Sites, Depression, and Anxiety: A Systematic Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Social networking sites (SNSs) have become a pervasive part of modern culture, which may also affect mental health. Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to identify and summarize research examining depression and anxiety in the context of SNSs. It also aimed to identify studies that complement the assessment of mental illness with measures of well-being and examine moderators and mediators that add to the complexity of this environment. Methods: A multidatabase search was performed. Papers published between January 2005 and June 2016 relevant to mental illness (depression and anxiety only) were extracted and reviewed. Results: Positive interactions, social support, and social connectedness on SNSs were consistently related to lower levels of depression and anxiety, whereas negative interaction and social comparisons on SNSs were related to higher levels of depression and anxiety. SNS use related to less loneliness and greater self-esteem and life satisfaction. Findings were mixed for frequency of SNS use and number of SNS friends. Different patterns in the way individuals with depression and individuals with social anxiety engage with SNSs are beginning to emerge. Conclusions: The systematic review revealed many mixed findings between depression, anxiety, and SNS use. Methodology has predominantly focused on self-report cross-sectional approaches; future research will benefit from leveraging real-time SNS data over time. The evidence suggests that SNS use correlates with mental illness and well-being; however, whether this effect is beneficial or detrimental depends at least partly on the quality of social factors in the SNS environment. Understanding these relationships will lead to better utilization of SNSs in their potential to positively influence mental health.

  • University Students. Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jirka_matousek/8431572046/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

    Awareness, Access and Use of Internet Self-Help Websites for Depression by University Students

    Abstract:

    Background: University students have a higher prevalence rate of depression than the average 18 to 24 year old. Internet self-help has been demonstrated to be effective in decreasing self-rated measures of depression in this population, so it is important to explore the awareness, access and use of such self-help resources in this population. Objective: The objective of this study is to explore university students’ awareness, access and use of Internet self-help websites for depression and related problems. Methods: A total of 2691 university students were surveyed at 3 time points. Results: When asked about browsing behavior, 69.6% (1494/2146) of students reported using the Internet for entertainment. Most students were not familiar with self-help websites for emotional health, although this awareness increased as they completed further assessments. Most students considered user-friendliness, content and interactivity as very important in the design of a self-help website. After being exposed to a self-help website, more students reported visiting websites for emotional health than those who had not been exposed. Conclusions: More students reported visiting self-help websites after becoming aware of such resources. Increased awareness of depression and related treatment resources may increase use of such resources. It is important to increase public awareness with the aim of increasing access to targeted strategies for young people.

  • Screenshot of Professor Gooley and the Flame of Mind: sample learning goals and objectives.

    Evaluation of a Digital Game-Based Learning Program for Enhancing Youth Mental Health: A Structural Equation Modeling of the Program Effectiveness

    Abstract:

    Background: Digital game-based learning (DGBL) makes use of the entertaining power of digital games for educational purposes. Effectiveness assessment of DGBL programs has been underexplored and no attempt has been made to simultaneously model both important components of DGBL: learning attainment (ie, educational purposes of DGBL) and engagement of users (ie, entertaining power of DGBL) in evaluating program effectiveness. Objective: This study aimed to describe and evaluate an Internet-based DGBL program, Professor Gooley and the Flame of Mind, which promotes mental health to adolescents in a positive youth development approach. In particular, we investigated whether user engagement in the DGBL program could enhance their attainment on each of the learning constructs per DGBL module and subsequently enhance their mental health as measured by psychological well-being. Methods: Users were assessed on their attainment on each learning construct, psychological well-being, and engagement in each of the modules. One structural equation model was constructed for each DGBL module to model the effect of users' engagement and attainment on the learning construct on their psychological well-being. Results: Of the 498 secondary school students that registered and participated from the first module of the DGBL program, 192 completed all 8 modules of the program. Results from structural equation modeling suggested that a higher extent of engagement in the program activities facilitated users’ attainment on the learning constructs on most of the modules and in turn enhanced their psychological well-being after controlling for users’ initial psychological well-being and initial attainment on the constructs. Conclusions: This study provided evidence that Internet intervention for mental health, implemented with the technologies and digital innovations of DGBL, could enhance youth mental health. Structural equation modeling is a promising approach in evaluating the effectiveness of DGBL programs.

  • PAADD user. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Web-Based Intervention to Reduce Substance Abuse and Depressive Symptoms in Mexico: Development and Usability Test

    Abstract:

    Background: The development of Web-based interventions for substance abuse in Latin America is a new field of interest with great potential for expansion to other Spanish-speaking countries. Objective: This paper describes a project aimed to develop and evaluate the usability of the Web-based Help Program for Drug Abuse and Depression (Programa de Ayuda para Abuso de Drogas y Depresión, PAADD, in Spanish) and also to construct a systematic frame of reference for the development of future Web-based programs. Methods: The PAADD aims to reduce substance use and depressive symptoms with cognitive behavioral techniques translated into Web applications, aided by the participation of a counselor to provide support and guidance. This Web-based intervention includes 4 steps: (1) My Starting Point, (2) Where Do I Want to Be? (3) Strategies for Change, and (4) Maintaining Change. The development of the program was an interactive multistage process. The first stage defined the core structure and contents, which were validated in stage 2 by a group of 8 experts in addiction treatment. Programming of the applications took place in stage 3, taking into account 3 types of end users: administrators, counselors, and substance users. Stage 4 consisted of functionality testing. In stage 5, a total of 9 health professionals and 20 drug users currently in treatment voluntarily interacted with the program in a usability test, providing feedback about adjustments needed to improve users’ experience. Results: The main finding of stage 2 was the consensus of the health professionals about the cognitive behavioral strategies and techniques included in PAADD being appropriate for changing substance use behaviors. In stage 5, the health professionals found the functionalities easy to learn; their suggestions were related to the page layout, inclusion of confirmation messages at the end of activities, avoiding “read more” links, and providing feedback about every activity. On the other hand, the users said the information presented within the modules was easy to follow and suggested more dynamic features with concrete instructions and feedback. Conclusions: The resulting Web-based program may have advantages over traditional face-to-face therapies owing to its low cost, wide accessibility, anonymity, and independence of time and distance factors. The detailed description of the process of designing a Web-based program is an important contribution to others interested in this field. The potential benefits must be verified in specific studies. Trial Registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 25429892; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN25429892 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6ko1Fsvym)

  • World map illustrating the original cultural context of the included interventions and the cultures into which they were adapted. Produced and copyright owned by M. Harper Shehadeh 2016.

    Cultural Adaptation of Minimally Guided Interventions for Common Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Cultural adaptation of mental health care interventions is key, particularly when there is little or no therapist interaction. There is little published information on the methods of adaptation of bibliotherapy and e-mental health interventions. Objective: To systematically search for evidence of the effectiveness of minimally guided interventions for the treatment of common mental disorders among culturally diverse people with common mental disorders; to analyze the extent and effects of cultural adaptation of minimally guided interventions for the treatment of common mental disorders. Methods: We searched Embase, PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO for randomized controlled trials that tested the efficacy of minimally guided or self-help interventions for depression or anxiety among culturally diverse populations. We calculated pooled standardized mean differences using a random-effects model. In addition, we administered a questionnaire to the authors of primary studies to assess the cultural adaptation methods used in the included primary studies. We entered this information into a meta-regression to investigate effects of the extent of adaptation on intervention efficacy. Results: We included eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) out of the 4911 potentially eligible records identified by the search: four on e-mental health and four on bibliotherapy. The extent of cultural adaptation varied across the studies, with language translation and use of metaphors being the most frequently applied elements of adaptation. The pooled standardized mean difference for primary outcome measures of depression and anxiety was -0.81 (95% CI -0.10 to -0.62). Higher cultural adaptation scores were significantly associated with greater effect sizes (P=.04). Conclusions: Our results support the results of previous systematic reviews on the cultural adaptation of face-to-face interventions: the extent of cultural adaptation has an effect on intervention efficacy. More research is warranted to explore how cultural adaptation may contribute to improve the acceptability and effectiveness of minimally guided psychological interventions for common mental disorders.

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  • Attitudes towards Telemedicine of subjects recruited in a medical service center, gynecological and general practitioner practice: A Cross-sectional Study

    Date Submitted: Jan 17, 2017

    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 17, 2017 - Mar 14, 2017

    Background: Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of telemedical interventions for mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders). As far as we know, there is no study conducted to...

    Background: Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of telemedical interventions for mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders). As far as we know, there is no study conducted to explore the attitudes of potential patients. In order to meet the needs of potential users, we have to raise data concerning their attitude, their fears and their expectations towards online interventions. Objective: This study aims to investigate participant’s attitudes towards telemedicine in the domain of psychiatry and psychotherapy, in order to find out, what they thinks about telemedicine and to what degree they are willing to try out telemedical offers. Methods: We used the questionnaire „Attitudes towards telemedicine in psychiatry and psychotherapy“, consisting of 8 Items, to collect attitudes towards telemedicine of patients in the waiting rooms of three practitioners; medical service center - main focus on psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatment -, gynecological and general practitioners practice. Results: From N = 353 subjects 45.7% think that telemedicine in general is a good addition next to traditional therapy offers, whereas only 24.4% do not think so. Overall subjects from the gynecological practice, n = 42, showed a more open minded view. They were far more positive on the matter of bridging a gap of waiting time than subjects from the general practitioner practice, n = 113, F(2,350) = 6.84. p < 0.01, Cohen`s d = 0.47, and compared to the subjects from the medical service center n =198, (F(2,350) = 6.84. p < 0.01, Cohen`s d = 0.405). When asked if they would take advantage of such offers, 63.5% of all three samples denied. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that overall a positive trend towards telemedicine can be seen. Participants were more open, if live contacts with a therapist is upstream, downstream or parallel to the online intervention. The own willingness to participate in such interventions seems to be low. One way to increase the willingness is to inform potential patients and be transparent in order to create trust. Since there are significant differences between the practice samples on some Items, it might be due to the fact that subjects do have - in their role as patient - different relationships with their different practitioners. A close collaboration between researchers and practitioners is essential, when a launch of more telemedical offers is planned.

  • 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

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