Feasibility of a Personal Health Technology-Based Psychological Intervention for Men with Stress and Mood Problems: Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

Päivi Lappalainen (Corresponding Author), Kirsikka Kaipainen, Raimo Lappalainen, Henna Hoffrén, Tero Myllymäki, Marja-Liisa Kinnunen, Elina M. Mattila, Antti P. Happonen, Heikki Rusko, Ilkka Korhonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Work-related stress is a significant problem for both people and organizations. It may lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, resulting in increased work absences and disabilities. Scalable interventions to prevent and manage harmful stress can be delivered with the help of technology tools to support self-observations and skills training.

    Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of the P4Well intervention in treatment of stress-related psychological problems. P4Well is a novel intervention which combines modern psychotherapy (the cognitive behavioral therapy and the acceptance and commitment therapy) with personal health technologies to deliver the intervention via multiple channels, includinggroup meetings, Internet/Web portal, mobile phone applications, and personal monitoring devices.

    Methods: This pilot study design was a small-scale randomized controlled trial that compared the P4Well intervention with a waiting list control group. In addition to personal health technologies for self-assessment, the intervention consisted of 3 psychologist-assisted group meetings. Self-assessed psychological measures through questionnaires were collected offline pre- and post-intervention, and 6 months after the intervention for the intervention group. Acceptance and usage of technology tools were measured with user experience questionnaires and usage logs.

    Results: A total of 24 subjects were randomized: 11 participants were followed up in the intervention group (1 was lost to follow-up) and 12 participants did not receive any intervention (control group). Depressive and psychological symptoms decreased and self-rated health and working ability increased. All participants reported they had benefited from the intervention. All technology tools had active users and 10/11 participants used at least 1 tool actively. Physiological measurements with personal feedback were considered the most useful intervention component.

    Conclusions: Our results confirm the feasibility of the intervention and suggest that it had positive effects on psychological symptoms, self-rated health, and self-rated working ability. The intervention seemed to have a positive impact on certain aspects of burnout and job strain, such as cynicism and over-commitment. Future studies need to investigate the effectiveness, benefits, and possible problems of psychological interventions which incorporate new technologies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJMIR Research Protocols
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • stress
    • technology-supported mini-intervention
    • personal health technologies
    • cognitive behaviour therapy
    • acceptance and commitment therapy
    • mhealth
    • mobile health
    • smartphone
    • Internet


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