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Currently accepted at: JMIR Mental Health

Date Submitted: May 30, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: May 31, 2019 - Jul 24, 2019
Date Accepted: Oct 9, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/14866

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

The Ethics and Design Principles of an Online Social Therapy System

  • Simon D'Alfonso; 
  • Jess Phillips; 
  • Lee Valentine; 
  • John Gleeson; 
  • Mario Alvarez-Jimenez; 


The modern omnipresence of social media and social networking sites (SNS) brings with it a range of important research questions. One of these concerns the impact of SNS use on mental health and wellbeing; a question that has been pursued in depth by scholars in the psychological sciences and the field of human-computer interaction. Despite this attention, the design choices made in the development of SNS and the notion of wellbeing employed to evaluate such systems require further scrutiny. In this paper we examine the strategic design choices made in developing an enclosed SNS for young people experiencing mental ill-health; in terms of ethical, persuasive design and in terms of how it fosters wellbeing. In doing so, we come to critique the understanding of wellbeing that is used in much of the existing literature to make claims about the impact of a given technology on wellbeing. We also demonstrate how the holistic concept of eudaimonic wellbeing and ethical design of SNS can complement one another.


Please cite as:

D'Alfonso S, Phillips J, Valentine L, Gleeson J, Alvarez-Jimenez M

The Ethics and Design Principles of an Online Social Therapy System

JMIR Mental Health. (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/14866


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