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Using a smartphone app to reduce cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms: Study protocol of an exploratory randomized controlled trial

Overview of attention for article published in Trials, December 2016
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215 Mendeley
Title
Using a smartphone app to reduce cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms: Study protocol of an exploratory randomized controlled trial
Published in
Trials, December 2016
DOI 10.1186/s13063-016-1740-3
Pubmed ID
Authors

Cezar Giosan, Oana Cobeanu, Cristina Mogoaşe, Aurora Szentágotai Tătar, Vlad Mureşan, Rareș Boian

Abstract

Depression is a major challenge worldwide, with significant increasing personal, economic, and societal costs. Although empirically supported treatments have been developed, they are not always available for patients in routine clinical care. Therefore, we need effective and widely accessible strategies to prevent the onset of the very first depressive symptoms. Mental health apps could prove a valuable solution for this desideratum. Although preliminary research has indicated that such apps can be useful in treating depression, no study has attempted to test their utility in preventing depressive symptoms. The aim of this exploratory study is to contrast the efficacy of a smartphone app in reducing cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms, as risk factors for the onset of depression, against a wait-list condition. More specifically, we aim to test an app designed to (1) decrease general cognitive vulnerability and (2) promote engagement in protective, adaptive activities, while (3) counteracting (through gamification and customization) the tendency of premature dropout from intervention. Romanian-speaking adults (18 years and older) with access to a computer and the Internet and who own a smartphone are included in the study. Two parallel randomized clinical trials are conducted: in the first one, 50 participants free of depressive symptoms (i.e., who obtain scores ≤4 on the Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9) will be included, while in the second one 50 participants with minimal depressive symptoms (i.e., who obtain PHQ-9 scores between 5 and 9) will be included. Participants undergoing therapy, presenting with substance abuse problems, psychotic symptoms, and organic brain disorders, or serious legal or health issues that would prevent them from using the app, as well as participants reporting suicidal ideation are excluded. Participants randomized to the active intervention will autonomously use the smartphone app for 4 weeks, while the others will be given access to the app after 4 weeks from randomization. The primary outcomes are (1) cognitive vulnerability factors as defined within the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) paradigm (i.e., dysfunctional cognitions, irrational beliefs, and negative automatic thoughts) (for the first trial), and (2) level of depressive symptomatology (for the second trial). The app includes self-help materials and exercises based on CBT for depression, presented in a tailored manner and incorporating gamification elements aimed at boosting motivation to use the app. This study protocol is the first to capitalize on the ubiquity of smartphones to large-scale dissemination of CBT-based strategies aimed at preventing depression in non-clinical populations. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02783118 . Registered on 26 May 2016.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profile of 1 tweeter who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 215 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
Finland 1 <1%
Colombia 1 <1%
Unknown 212 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 40 19%
Unspecified 37 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 37 17%
Student > Bachelor 28 13%
Researcher 22 10%
Other 51 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Unspecified 51 24%
Psychology 49 23%
Medicine and Dentistry 41 19%
Computer Science 18 8%
Nursing and Health Professions 17 8%
Other 39 18%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 January 2017.
All research outputs
#8,177,157
of 13,044,694 outputs
Outputs from Trials
#2,298
of 3,251 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#188,045
of 341,980 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Trials
#1
of 4 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,044,694 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 23rd percentile – i.e., 23% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,251 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 7.7. This one is in the 21st percentile – i.e., 21% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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