Development and Pilot Evaluation of Smartphone-Delivered Cognitive Behavior Therapy Strategies for Mood- and Anxiety-Related Problems: MoodMission

David Bakker, Nikolaos Kazantzis, Debra Rickwood, Nikki Rickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Given the ubiquity and interactive power of smartphones, there are opportunities to develop smartphone applications (apps) that provide novel, highly accessible mental health supports. This paper details the development of a smartphone app, “MoodMission,” that aims to provide evidence-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) strategies for mood- and anxiety-related problems, contributing to the prevention of clinically significant depression and anxiety disorders and serving as an adjunct to therapeutic interventions delivered by trained health professionals. MoodMission was designed to deliver strategies in the form of real-time, momentary responses to user-reported low moods and anxiety. The development process involved: (a) construction of a battery of strategies, (b) empirical evaluation, (c) a software and behavioral plan design and testing process, (d) user feedback, and (e) a public launch. A pilot study of 44 participants completed the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS; Hides et al., 2014) for usability testing and feedback. MoodMission was rated significantly higher than standardized health app norms on the majority of the domains, including Entertainment, Interest, Customization, Target Group, Graphics, Visual Appeal, Quality of Information, Quantity of Information, Visual Information, Credibility of Source, Recommendation to Use, Estimated Frequency of Use, and Overall Rating (Hedges's g range 0.57–1.97, p <.006). Case examples illustrate the practical uses of the app. In addition to clinical applications, MoodMission holds promise as a research tool either as an augmentation to clinician-delivered therapy, or as a vehicle for standardizing client access to specific CBT strategies (e.g., in studies intending to study different change processes).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-514
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • anxiety
  • app
  • cognitive behavior therapy
  • depression
  • mobile
  • self-guided

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