Assessing the efficacy of mobile health apps using the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy: systematic review.

Rathbone, Amy Leigh ORCID: 0000-0002-8398-9533, Clarry, Laura ORCID: 0000-0002-1843-9797 and Prescott, Julie ORCID: 0000-0001-8612-2495 (2017) Assessing the efficacy of mobile health apps using the basic principles of cognitive behavioral therapy: systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19 (11). e399. ISSN 1439-4456

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Abstract

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in its basic principle has developed itself as a stand-alone, substantial method of therapy. With effective application in therapy for a range of mental health issues, the spread of CBT methods to Web-based therapy sources is evident. The development of mobile phone apps using CBT principles is increasing within the research area. Despite the move to Web-based methods of therapy, it is argued that these methods lack the same efficacy of face-to-face therapy sessions. The aim of this review was to assess extent research findings with regard to the effectiveness of CBT-related mobile health (mHealth) apps. By assessing only studies employing a randomized controlled trial design, the review aimed to determine app efficacy within the highly regarded method of investigation. A comprehensive literature search was conducted across several databases. Search results were filtered, and results were subject to strict inclusion and exclusion criteria because of the nature of the review. Where possible, analysis of effect size was calculated and results reported. A total of 8 studies investigating the effectiveness of mHealth CBT-related apps across a range of mental health issues were reviewed. Three studies used the app against a control group, and 5 studies used the app intervention against another form of treatment or intervention. A range of effect sizes were seen across all included studies (d=-0.13 to 1.83; 0.03-1.44), with the largest effects often being seen when comparing the data from pre- to posttest for the app engaged group. The studies reviewed support the use of mHealth apps containing CBT principles for a range of mental health issues. However, the effectiveness over longer time periods should be assessed. Researchers and professionals should seek to collaborate effectively when creating new apps to enhance their effectiveness as a treatment for the general public.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavior, cognitive therapy, health, intervention study, mHealth, mobile, phone, randomized controlled trial, review, systematic, treatment efficacy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 13:49
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 08:20
Identification Number: 10.2196/jmir.8598
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1239

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