1:50 - 2:10 pmSunday, September 29
LK 130
MoodHacker: An mHealth strategy to support depression self-management
LK 130
MoodHacker: An mHealth strategy to support depression self-management
Behavioral Scientist, ORCAS
The efficacy of MoodHacker, a responsive mobile-web app to support depression self-management, is being evaluated with 300 adults at risk for depression and shows promise as a tool to reduce depression... Read more

Description

The efficacy of MoodHacker, a responsive mobile-web app to support depression self-management, is being evaluated with 300 adults at risk for depression and shows promise as a tool to reduce depression symptoms and prevent escalation to clinical depression.

Background

Depression costs exceed $83 billion annually in the U.S.1 Unmanaged depression further impacts healthcare costs by interfering with self-management of chronic conditions; each making the other more severe, more difficult to manage, and more costly.2-3Interventions that reduce the symptoms of subclinical depression and prevent the onset of major depression can reduce healthcare costs and improve worker productivity, while improving employee well-being.4

With NIMH funding, ORCAS developed an evidence-based mobile-web app to activate and engage adults in regular positive cognitive and behavioral skills to improve their mood, reduce depressive symptoms, and prevent escalation to clinical depression. MoodHacker combines key skills from the empirically validated Coping with Depression CBT skills-training program5, with positive psychology strategies6 and persuasive technology. The app guides users to track their mood and mood-enhancing activities, raising their awareness of the influence of daily activities on their mood. Similar ORCAS programs have reduced depressive symptoms, prevented escalation to clinical depression, and increased knowledge, self-efficacy and use of skills.7

Methods

ORCAS is conducting a two-arm randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of the MoodHacker app. The study population includes approximately 300 employed men and women from across the U.S. with mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression as measured by PHQ-9. Recruited with the help of employee assistance and mental health education and advocacy organizations, the sample roughly reflects the racial/ethnic diversity of adults in the 2010 U.S. Census.

Participants use the app for 6 weeks and are assessed at baseline, 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 10 weeks. Expected outcomes (and validated instruments) are:

  • Reduced depression symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire 9)
  • Improved self-care behaviors (Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale)
  • Reduced negative thinking (Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire-Revised)
  • Fewer missed work days (absenteeism – Work Limitations Questionnaire & Workplace Outcomes Suite)
  • Improved on-the-job productivity (presenteeism – Work Limitations Questionnaire & Workplace Outcomes Suite)

The study began in October 2012 and will conclude in July 2013.

Results

Early pilot testing has shown a clinically significant reduction in depression symptoms (PHQ9) and increase in behavioral activation (BADS).8 Pilot testers reported that the application was very easy to use and helpful for managing their mood. Interim data from the randomized trial underway indicate high program engagement and a high level of user satisfaction. Results of the trial will be presented and discussed.

Conclusions

There is a strong need for evidence-based and easily accessible tools to support depression prevention and self-management. An effective mobile-web app has the potential to impact the healthcare and workplace costs associated with depression and improve the health and well-being of adults who struggle with the condition. MoodHacker shows promise as a novel mHealth strategy to integrate into existing healthcare efforts.

Amy Birney is an NIH-funded applied researcher at ORCAS with 15 years of experience in creating and studying mobile and online programs built on the scientific underpinnings of effective behavior-change models. On this NIMH-funded project (grant #R44-MH073280), she worked with depression-prevention expert, Dr. John Seeley (Oregon Research Institute), to develop an engaging and effective mobile app for adult employees with mild-to-moderate depression. She oversaw research and development of the MoodHacker app, including formative interviews and end-user input, interactive design, content development, user testing, and both a within-group pilot test and a randomized trial to assess program efficacy.

She has made numerous successful presentations about using web and mobile programs for problems as varied as reducing hospital readmissions (call center nurses and nurse administrators), promoting bike helmet use among middle-school students (teachers, school administrators, community advocates), and supporting the needs of family caregivers to cancer patients (cancer researchers). Prior to her research career, she was responsible for training scientists to present findings to corporate audiences.

 

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