Nav: Home

Study: Mental health mobile apps are effective self-help tools

November 20, 2017

When it comes to strengthening your mental or emotional health, would you trust an app?

A trio of Brigham Young University health science researchers has published new research that says the answer is yes.

The group was looking to identify what it is about health apps that influences users' behavior. Over three studies, they surveyed roughly 600 people who had used diet, physical activity or mental health apps in the past six months.

The findings for diet and fitness app users were as expected: more than 90 percent of users reported an increase in their desire and motivation to eat healthy and be physically active. But the really good -- and fascinating -- news was the response from mental and emotional health app users: 90 percent reported increased motivation, confidence, intention and attitudes about being mentally and emotionally healthy.

"Our findings show that mental and emotional health focused apps have the ability to positively change behavior," said Ben Crookston, associate professor of health science at BYU. "This is great news for people looking for inexpensive, easily accessible resources to help combat mental and emotional health illness and challenges."

While mobile mental and emotional health apps are not the most traditional approach, these findings suggest that they may be a worthwhile tool for addressing mental health in individuals and increasing self-efficacy.

Research shows that people who struggle with mental and emotional health problems feel like they lack control. While there are many problems that should be addressed by a professional, users can now take confidence that resources they can use on their own really are effective.

Understanding how these self-help apps promote behavior change will not only help individuals but also health providers working with those struggling with these kinds of problems, researchers said.

"These apps are engaging and if we can get people to use them more often, the potential certainly exists to help people change their behavior," said co-author Josh West.

The BYU health science professors hope to continue studying this topic by looking into what kind of apps are most effective at improving mental and emotional wellness (meditation prayer, faith-based scripture, medication adherence, mood tracker, stress management or positive affirmation).

The three research studies were published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.
-end-


Brigham Young University

Related Behavior Articles:

Fishing for a theory of emergent behavior
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba quantified the collective action of small schools of fish using information theory.
How synaptic changes translate to behavior changes
Learning changes behavior by altering many connections between brain cells in a variety of ways all at the same time, according to a study of sea slugs recently published in JNeurosci.
I won't have what he's having: The brain and socially motivated behavior
Monkeys devalue rewards when they anticipate that another monkey will get them instead.
Unlocking animal behavior through motion
Using physics to study different types of animal motion, such as burrowing worms or flying flocks, can reveal how animals behave in different settings.
AI to help monitor behavior
Algorithms based on artificial intelligence do better at supporting educational and clinical decision-making, according to a new study.
Increasing opportunities for sustainable behavior
To mitigate climate change and safeguard ecosystems, we need to make drastic changes in our consumption and transport behaviors.
Predicting a protein's behavior from its appearance
Researchers at EPFL have developed a new way to predict a protein's interactions with other proteins and biomolecules, and its biochemical activity, merely by observing its surface.
Spirituality affects the behavior of mortgagers
According to Olga Miroshnichenko, a Sc.D in Economics, and a Professor at the Department of Economics and Finance, Tyumen State University, morals affect the thinking of mortgage payers and help them avoid past due payments.
Asking if behavior can be changed on climate crisis
One of the more complex problems facing social psychologists today is whether any intervention can move people to change their behavior about climate change and protecting the environment for the sake of future generations.
Is Instagram behavior motivated by a desire to belong?
Does a desire to belong and perceived social support drive a person's frequency of Instagram use?
More Behavior News and Behavior Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.