Background and AimsSmartphone addiction, its association with smartphone use, and its predictors have not yet been studied in a European sample. This study investigated indicators of smartphone use, smartphone addiction, and their associations with demographic and health behaviour-related variables in young people.MethodsA convenience sample of 1,519 students from 127 Swiss vocational school classes participated in a survey assessing demographic and health-related characteristics as well as indicators of smartphone use and addiction. Smartphone addiction was assessed using a short version of the Smartphone Addiction Scale for Adolescents (SAS-SV). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate demographic and health-related predictors of smartphone addiction.ResultsSmartphone addiction occurred in 256 (16.9%) of the 1,519 students. Longer duration of smartphone use on a typical day, a shorter time period until first smartphone use in the morning, and reporting that social networking was the most personally relevant smartphone function were associated with smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction was more prevalent in younger adolescents (15–16 years) compared with young adults (19 years and older), students with both parents born outside Switzerland, persons reporting lower physical activity, and those reporting higher stress. Alcohol and tobacco consumption were unrelated to smartphone addiction.DiscussionDifferent indicators of smartphone use are associated with smartphone addiction and subgroups of young people have a higher prevalence of smartphone addiction.ConclusionsThe study provides the first insights into smartphone use, smartphone addiction, and predictors of smartphone addiction in young people from a European country, which should be extended in further studies.
BackgroundDepression is a burdensome, recurring mental health disorder with high prevalence. Even in developed countries, patients have to wait for several months to receive treatment. In many parts of the world there is only one mental health professional for over 200 people. Smartphones are ubiquitous and have a large complement of sensors that can potentially be useful in monitoring behavioral patterns that might be indicative of depressive symptoms and providing context-sensitive intervention support.ObjectiveThe objective of this study is 2-fold, first to explore the detection of daily-life behavior based on sensor information to identify subjects with a clinically meaningful depression level, second to explore the potential of context sensitive intervention delivery to provide in-situ support for people with depressive symptoms.MethodsA total of 126 adults (age 20-57) were recruited to use the smartphone app Mobile Sensing and Support (MOSS), collecting context-sensitive sensor information and providing just-in-time interventions derived from cognitive behavior therapy. Real-time learning-systems were deployed to adapt to each subject’s preferences to optimize recommendations with respect to time, location, and personal preference. Biweekly, participants were asked to complete a self-reported depression survey (PHQ-9) to track symptom progression. Wilcoxon tests were conducted to compare scores before and after intervention. Correlation analysis was used to test the relationship between adherence and change in PHQ-9. One hundred twenty features were constructed based on smartphone usage and sensors including accelerometer, Wifi, and global positioning systems (GPS). Machine-learning models used these features to infer behavior and context for PHQ-9 level prediction and tailored intervention delivery.ResultsA total of 36 subjects used MOSS for ≥2 weeks. For subjects with clinical depression (PHQ-9≥11) at baseline and adherence ≥8 weeks (n=12), a significant drop in PHQ-9 was observed (P=.01). This group showed a negative trend between adherence and change in PHQ-9 scores (rho=−.498, P=.099). Binary classification performance for biweekly PHQ-9 samples (n=143), with a cutoff of PHQ-9≥11, based on Random Forest and Support Vector Machine leave-one-out cross validation resulted in 60.1% and 59.1% accuracy, respectively.ConclusionsProxies for social and physical behavior derived from smartphone sensor data was successfully deployed to deliver context-sensitive and personalized interventions to people with depressive symptoms. Subjects who used the app for an extended period of time showed significant reduction in self-reported symptom severity. Nonlinear classification models trained on features extracted from smartphone sensor data including Wifi, accelerometer, GPS, and phone use, demonstrated a proof of concept for the detection of depression superior to random classification. While findings of effectiveness must be reproduced in a RCT to proof causation, they pave the way for a new generation of digital heal...
Existing research on information privacy has mostly relied on the privacy calculus model, which views privacy-related decision-making as a rational process where individuals weigh the anticipated risks of disclosing personal data against the potential benefits. In this research, we develop an extension to the privacy calculus model, arguing that the situation-specific assessment of risks and benefits is bounded by (1) pre-existing attitudes or dispositions, such as general privacy concerns or general institutional trust, and (2) limited cognitive resources and heuristic thinking. An experimental study, employing two samples from the USA and Switzerland, examined consumer responses to a new smartphone application that collects driving behavior data and provided converging support for these predictions. Specifically, the results revealed that a situation-specific assessment of risks and benefits fully mediates the effect of dispositional factors on information disclosure. In addition, the results showed that privacy assessment is influenced by momentary affective states, indicating that consumers underestimate the risks of information disclosure when confronted with a user interface that elicits positive affect.
Background Conversational agents, also known as chatbots, are computer programs designed to simulate human text or verbal conversations. They are increasingly used in a range of fields, including health care. By enabling better accessibility, personalization, and efficiency, conversational agents have the potential to improve patient care. Objective This study aimed to review the current applications, gaps, and challenges in the literature on conversational agents in health care and provide recommendations for their future research, design, and application. Methods We performed a scoping review. A broad literature search was performed in MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online; Ovid), EMBASE (Excerpta Medica database; Ovid), PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Central with the search terms “conversational agents,” “conversational AI,” “chatbots,” and associated synonyms. We also searched the gray literature using sources such as the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) WorldCat database and ResearchGate in April 2019. Reference lists of relevant articles were checked for further articles. Screening and data extraction were performed in parallel by 2 reviewers. The included evidence was analyzed narratively by employing the principles of thematic analysis. Results The literature search yielded 47 study reports (45 articles and 2 ongoing clinical trials) that matched the inclusion criteria. The identified conversational agents were largely delivered via smartphone apps (n=23) and used free text only as the main input (n=19) and output (n=30) modality. Case studies describing chatbot development (n=18) were the most prevalent, and only 11 randomized controlled trials were identified. The 3 most commonly reported conversational agent applications in the literature were treatment and monitoring, health care service support, and patient education. Conclusions The literature on conversational agents in health care is largely descriptive and aimed at treatment and monitoring and health service support. It mostly reports on text-based, artificial intelligence–driven, and smartphone app–delivered conversational agents. There is an urgent need for a robust evaluation of diverse health care conversational agents’ formats, focusing on their acceptability, safety, and effectiveness.
Background Ongoing pain is one of the most common diseases and has major physical, psychological, social, and economic impacts. A mobile health intervention utilizing a fully automated text-based health care chatbot (TBHC) may offer an innovative way not only to deliver coping strategies and psychoeducation for pain management but also to build a working alliance between a participant and the TBHC. Objective The objectives of this study are twofold: (1) to describe the design and implementation to promote the chatbot painSELfMAnagement (SELMA), a 2-month smartphone-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) TBHC intervention for pain self-management in patients with ongoing or cyclic pain, and (2) to present findings from a pilot randomized controlled trial, in which effectiveness, influence of intention to change behavior, pain duration, working alliance, acceptance, and adherence were evaluated. Methods Participants were recruited online and in collaboration with pain experts, and were randomized to interact with SELMA for 8 weeks either every day or every other day concerning CBT-based pain management (n=59), or weekly concerning content not related to pain management (n=43). Pain-related impairment (primary outcome), general well-being, pain intensity, and the bond scale of working alliance were measured at baseline and postintervention. Intention to change behavior and pain duration were measured at baseline only, and acceptance postintervention was assessed via self-reporting instruments. Adherence was assessed via usage data. Results From May 2018 to August 2018, 311 adults downloaded the SELMA app, 102 of whom consented to participate and met the inclusion criteria. The average age of the women (88/102, 86.4%) and men (14/102, 13.6%) participating was 43.7 (SD 12.7) years. Baseline group comparison did not differ with respect to any demographic or clinical variable. The intervention group reported no significant change in pain-related impairment (P=.68) compared to the control group postintervention. The intention to change behavior was positively related to pain-related impairment (P=.01) and pain intensity (P=.01). Working alliance with the TBHC SELMA was comparable to that obtained in guided internet therapies with human coaches. Participants enjoyed using the app, perceiving it as useful and easy to use. Participants of the intervention group replied with an average answer ratio of 0.71 (SD 0.20) to 200 (SD 58.45) conversations initiated by SELMA. Participants’ comments revealed an appreciation of the empathic and responsible interaction with the TBHC SELMA. A main criticism was that there was no option to enter free text for the patients’ own comments. Conclusions SELMA is feasible, as revealed mainly by positive feedback and valuable suggestions for future revisions. For example, the participants’ intention to change behavior or a more homogenous sample (eg, with a specific type of chronic pain) should be considered in further tailoring of SELMA. Trial Registration German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00017147; https://tinyurl.com/vx6n6sx, Swiss National Clinical Trial Portal: SNCTP000002712; https://www.kofam.ch/de/studienportal/suche/70582/studie/46326.
BackgroundEffective disease self-management lowers asthma’s burden of disease for both individual patients and health care systems. In principle, mobile health (mHealth) apps could enable effective asthma self-management interventions that improve a patient’s quality of life while simultaneously reducing the overall treatment costs for health care systems. However, prior reviews in this field have found that mHealth apps for asthma lack clinical evaluation and are often not based on medical guidelines. Yet, beyond the missing evidence for clinical efficacy, little is known about the potential apps might have for improving asthma self-management.ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to assess the potential of publicly available and well-adopted mHealth apps for improving asthma self-management.MethodsThe Apple App store and Google Play store were systematically searched for asthma apps. In total, 523 apps were identified, of which 38 apps matched the selection criteria to be included in the review. Four requirements of app potential were investigated: app functions, potential to change behavior (by means of a behavior change technique taxonomy), potential to promote app use (by means of a gamification components taxonomy), and app quality (by means of the Mobile Application Rating Scale [MARS]).ResultsThe most commonly implemented functions in the 38 reviewed asthma apps were tracking (30/38, 79%) and information (26/38, 68%) functions, followed by assessment (20/38, 53%) and notification (18/38, 47%) functions. On average, the reviewed apps applied 7.12 of 26 available behavior change techniques (standard deviation [SD]=4.46) and 4.89 of 31 available gamification components (SD=4.21). Average app quality was acceptable (mean=3.17/5, SD=0.58), whereas subjective app quality lied between poor and acceptable (mean=2.65/5, SD=0.87). Additionally, the sum scores of all review frameworks were significantly correlated (lowest correlation: r36=.33, P=.04 between number of functions and gamification components; highest correlation: r36=.80, P<.001 between number of behavior change techniques and gamification components), which suggests that an app’s potential tends to be consistent across review frameworks.ConclusionsSeveral apps were identified that performed consistently well across all applied review frameworks, thus indicating the potential mHealth apps offer for improving asthma self-management. However, many apps suffer from low quality. Therefore, app reviews should be considered as a decision support tool before deciding which app to integrate into a patient’s asthma self-management. Furthermore, several research-practice gaps were identified that app developers should consider addressing in future asthma apps.
Personality traits predict important life outcomes, such as success in love and work life, well-being, health, and longevity. Given these positive relations to important outcomes, economists, policy makers, and scientists have proposed intervening to change personality traits to promote positive life outcomes. However, nonclinical interventions to change personality traits are lacking so far in large-scale naturalistic populations. This study (n = 1,523) examined the effects of a 3-mo digital personality change intervention using a randomized controlled trial and the smartphone application PEACH (PErsonality coACH). Participants who received the intervention showed greater self-reported changes compared to participants in the waitlist control group who had to wait 1 mo before receiving the intervention. Self-reported changes aligned with intended goals for change and were significant for those desiring to increase on a trait (d = 0.52) and for those desiring to decrease on a trait (d = −0.58). Observers such as friends, family members, or intimate partners also detected significant personality changes in the desired direction for those desiring to increase on a trait (d = 0.35). Observer-reported changes for those desiring to decrease on a trait were not significant (d = −0.22). Moreover, self- and observer-reported changes persisted until 3 mo after the end of the intervention. This work provides the strongest evidence to date that normal personality traits can be changed through intervention in nonclinical samples.
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