An evaluation of the behaviour change content and quality of smartphone apps designed for individuals experiencing anxiety: an illustrative example for school psychologists

P. Chan, B. E. Furlonger, E. S. Leif, L. A. D'Souza, K. J. Phillips, M. Di Mattia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the behaviour change techniques (BCT) of anxiety-related stand-alone apps accessible to individuals who wish to use apps to assist in the self-management of their anxiety. Methods: Apps that met the inclusion criterion were downloaded and subjected to content analysis. Specific categories were coded using the BCTTv1 (behaviour change technique taxonomy) and the Mobile Application Rating Scale: User version (uMARS). Results: Overall, the reviewed apps included low levels of BCTs, which moderately correlated with app quality. When comparing apps that claimed to facilitate self-management of anxiety symptoms and those which did not, there were no significant differences in the BCT and overall quality between the two groups. Three stand-alone anxiety-related apps were identified as of better quality than the others. They had higher scores on both the level of behaviour change content and overall quality. Conclusions: The BCTTv1 framework was a time efficient method for assessing the behaviour change content of the apps. Implications: The BCTTv1 framework allows psychologists to make evidence-based decisions about the type of anxiety-related stand-alone apps to recommend to their clients.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalEducational and Developmental Psychologist
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • apps
  • behaviour
  • self-management
  • smartphone
  • students

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