A review of the processes by which school psychologists and counsellors can use taxonomies to evaluate health-related apps

Marko Ostojic, Jasmine Chung, Michael DiMattia, Brett Furlonger, Margherita Busacca, Philip Chittleborough

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    School students are increasingly using apps for health-related purposes, either on their own or when recommended by psychologists or counsellors, as apps offer a way to assist students to change their behaviour. However, there is a growing need for psychologists and counsellors to be able to evaluate the quality and usefulness of such apps to effect behaviour change. This study was therefore undertaken to identify methods by which school psychologists and counsellors could evaluate health-related apps for clinical use or research purposes. After examining 15 studies of apps that met the inclusion criteria, it was clear that researchers used a number of taxonomies to evaluate the apps. There were seven taxonomies identified, of which five were generalisable to all health conditions, with the behaviour change technique (BCT) taxonomy being the most comprehensive, containing 13 key behaviour strategies. Despite the utility of the taxonomies to identify the amount of behaviour change content within the apps, it was difficult to determine how the behaviour change strategies were measured, thus reducing the ability to predict app effectiveness. Approaches to improving methods by which apps can be developed and evaluated are proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)212-233
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


    • apps
    • content-analysis
    • counselling
    • evaluation
    • school
    • students

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