Mobile mental wellness training for stress management: Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study

Aino Ahtinen, Elina M. Mattila (Corresponding Author), Pasi Välkkynen, Kirsikka Kaipainen, Toni Vanhala, Miikka Ermes, E. Sairanen, T. Myllymäki, R. Lappalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Prevention and management of work-related stress and related mental problems is a great challenge. Mobile applications are a promising way to integrate prevention strategies into the everyday lives of citizens.

Objective: The objectives of this study was to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of a mobile mental wellness training application among working-age individuals, and to derive preliminary design implications for mobile apps for stress management.

Methods: Oiva, a mobile app based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), was designed to support active learning of skills related to mental wellness through brief ACT-based exercises in the daily life. A one-month field study with 15 working-age participants was organized to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of Oiva. The usage of Oiva was studied based on the usage log files of the application. Changes in wellness were measured by three validated questionnaires on stress, satisfaction with life (SWLS), and psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) at the beginning and at end of the study and by user experience questionnaires after one week’s and one month’s use. In-depth user experience interviews were conducted after one month’s use to study the acceptance and user experiences of Oiva.

Results: Oiva was used actively throughout the study. The average number of usage sessions was 16.8 (SD 2.4) and the total usage time per participant was 3 hours 12 minutes (SD 99 minutes). Significant pre-post improvements were obtained in stress ratings (mean 3.1 SD 0.2 vs mean 2.5 SD 0.1, P=.003) and satisfaction with life scores (mean 23.1 SD 1.3 vs mean 25.9 SD 0.8, P=.02), but not in psychological flexibility. Oiva was perceived easy to use, acceptable, and useful by the participants. A randomized controlled trial is ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of Oiva on working-age individuals with stress problems.

Conclusions: A feasibility study of Oiva mobile mental wellness training app showed good acceptability, usefulness, and engagement among the working-age participants, and provided increased understanding on the essential features of mobile apps for stress management. Five design implications were derived based on the qualitative findings: (1) provide exercises for everyday life, (2) find proper place and time for challenging content, (3) focus on self-improvement and learning instead of external rewards, (4) guide gently but do not restrict choice, and (5) provide an easy and flexible tool for self-reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11
JournalJMIR Mhealth and Uhealth
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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Mobile Applications
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Psychology
Problem-Based Learning
Feasibility Studies
Reward
Randomized Controlled Trials
Learning
Interviews
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • asseptance and commitment therapy
  • design
  • field studies
  • mental health
  • mobile phone
  • stress
  • user experience

Cite this

Ahtinen, Aino ; Mattila, Elina M. ; Välkkynen, Pasi ; Kaipainen, Kirsikka ; Vanhala, Toni ; Ermes, Miikka ; Sairanen, E. ; Myllymäki, T. ; Lappalainen, R. / Mobile mental wellness training for stress management : Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study. In: JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth. 2013 ; Vol. 1, No. 2.
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title = "Mobile mental wellness training for stress management: Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study",
abstract = "Background: Prevention and management of work-related stress and related mental problems is a great challenge. Mobile applications are a promising way to integrate prevention strategies into the everyday lives of citizens.Objective: The objectives of this study was to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of a mobile mental wellness training application among working-age individuals, and to derive preliminary design implications for mobile apps for stress management.Methods: Oiva, a mobile app based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), was designed to support active learning of skills related to mental wellness through brief ACT-based exercises in the daily life. A one-month field study with 15 working-age participants was organized to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of Oiva. The usage of Oiva was studied based on the usage log files of the application. Changes in wellness were measured by three validated questionnaires on stress, satisfaction with life (SWLS), and psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) at the beginning and at end of the study and by user experience questionnaires after one week’s and one month’s use. In-depth user experience interviews were conducted after one month’s use to study the acceptance and user experiences of Oiva.Results: Oiva was used actively throughout the study. The average number of usage sessions was 16.8 (SD 2.4) and the total usage time per participant was 3 hours 12 minutes (SD 99 minutes). Significant pre-post improvements were obtained in stress ratings (mean 3.1 SD 0.2 vs mean 2.5 SD 0.1, P=.003) and satisfaction with life scores (mean 23.1 SD 1.3 vs mean 25.9 SD 0.8, P=.02), but not in psychological flexibility. Oiva was perceived easy to use, acceptable, and useful by the participants. A randomized controlled trial is ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of Oiva on working-age individuals with stress problems.Conclusions: A feasibility study of Oiva mobile mental wellness training app showed good acceptability, usefulness, and engagement among the working-age participants, and provided increased understanding on the essential features of mobile apps for stress management. Five design implications were derived based on the qualitative findings: (1) provide exercises for everyday life, (2) find proper place and time for challenging content, (3) focus on self-improvement and learning instead of external rewards, (4) guide gently but do not restrict choice, and (5) provide an easy and flexible tool for self-reflection.",
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author = "Aino Ahtinen and Mattila, {Elina M.} and Pasi V{\"a}lkkynen and Kirsikka Kaipainen and Toni Vanhala and Miikka Ermes and E. Sairanen and T. Myllym{\"a}ki and R. Lappalainen",
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Ahtinen, A, Mattila, EM, Välkkynen, P, Kaipainen, K, Vanhala, T, Ermes, M, Sairanen, E, Myllymäki, T & Lappalainen, R 2013, 'Mobile mental wellness training for stress management: Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study', JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth, vol. 1, no. 2, e11. https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.2596

Mobile mental wellness training for stress management : Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study. / Ahtinen, Aino; Mattila, Elina M. (Corresponding Author); Välkkynen, Pasi; Kaipainen, Kirsikka; Vanhala, Toni; Ermes, Miikka; Sairanen, E.; Myllymäki, T.; Lappalainen, R.

In: JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth, Vol. 1, No. 2, e11, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mobile mental wellness training for stress management

T2 - Feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study

AU - Ahtinen, Aino

AU - Mattila, Elina M.

AU - Välkkynen, Pasi

AU - Kaipainen, Kirsikka

AU - Vanhala, Toni

AU - Ermes, Miikka

AU - Sairanen, E.

AU - Myllymäki, T.

AU - Lappalainen, R.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Background: Prevention and management of work-related stress and related mental problems is a great challenge. Mobile applications are a promising way to integrate prevention strategies into the everyday lives of citizens.Objective: The objectives of this study was to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of a mobile mental wellness training application among working-age individuals, and to derive preliminary design implications for mobile apps for stress management.Methods: Oiva, a mobile app based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), was designed to support active learning of skills related to mental wellness through brief ACT-based exercises in the daily life. A one-month field study with 15 working-age participants was organized to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of Oiva. The usage of Oiva was studied based on the usage log files of the application. Changes in wellness were measured by three validated questionnaires on stress, satisfaction with life (SWLS), and psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) at the beginning and at end of the study and by user experience questionnaires after one week’s and one month’s use. In-depth user experience interviews were conducted after one month’s use to study the acceptance and user experiences of Oiva.Results: Oiva was used actively throughout the study. The average number of usage sessions was 16.8 (SD 2.4) and the total usage time per participant was 3 hours 12 minutes (SD 99 minutes). Significant pre-post improvements were obtained in stress ratings (mean 3.1 SD 0.2 vs mean 2.5 SD 0.1, P=.003) and satisfaction with life scores (mean 23.1 SD 1.3 vs mean 25.9 SD 0.8, P=.02), but not in psychological flexibility. Oiva was perceived easy to use, acceptable, and useful by the participants. A randomized controlled trial is ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of Oiva on working-age individuals with stress problems.Conclusions: A feasibility study of Oiva mobile mental wellness training app showed good acceptability, usefulness, and engagement among the working-age participants, and provided increased understanding on the essential features of mobile apps for stress management. Five design implications were derived based on the qualitative findings: (1) provide exercises for everyday life, (2) find proper place and time for challenging content, (3) focus on self-improvement and learning instead of external rewards, (4) guide gently but do not restrict choice, and (5) provide an easy and flexible tool for self-reflection.

AB - Background: Prevention and management of work-related stress and related mental problems is a great challenge. Mobile applications are a promising way to integrate prevention strategies into the everyday lives of citizens.Objective: The objectives of this study was to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of a mobile mental wellness training application among working-age individuals, and to derive preliminary design implications for mobile apps for stress management.Methods: Oiva, a mobile app based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), was designed to support active learning of skills related to mental wellness through brief ACT-based exercises in the daily life. A one-month field study with 15 working-age participants was organized to study the usage, acceptance, and usefulness of Oiva. The usage of Oiva was studied based on the usage log files of the application. Changes in wellness were measured by three validated questionnaires on stress, satisfaction with life (SWLS), and psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) at the beginning and at end of the study and by user experience questionnaires after one week’s and one month’s use. In-depth user experience interviews were conducted after one month’s use to study the acceptance and user experiences of Oiva.Results: Oiva was used actively throughout the study. The average number of usage sessions was 16.8 (SD 2.4) and the total usage time per participant was 3 hours 12 minutes (SD 99 minutes). Significant pre-post improvements were obtained in stress ratings (mean 3.1 SD 0.2 vs mean 2.5 SD 0.1, P=.003) and satisfaction with life scores (mean 23.1 SD 1.3 vs mean 25.9 SD 0.8, P=.02), but not in psychological flexibility. Oiva was perceived easy to use, acceptable, and useful by the participants. A randomized controlled trial is ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of Oiva on working-age individuals with stress problems.Conclusions: A feasibility study of Oiva mobile mental wellness training app showed good acceptability, usefulness, and engagement among the working-age participants, and provided increased understanding on the essential features of mobile apps for stress management. Five design implications were derived based on the qualitative findings: (1) provide exercises for everyday life, (2) find proper place and time for challenging content, (3) focus on self-improvement and learning instead of external rewards, (4) guide gently but do not restrict choice, and (5) provide an easy and flexible tool for self-reflection.

KW - asseptance and commitment therapy

KW - design

KW - field studies

KW - mental health

KW - mobile phone

KW - stress

KW - user experience

U2 - 10.2196/mhealth.2596

DO - 10.2196/mhealth.2596

M3 - Article

VL - 1

JO - JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth

JF - JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth

SN - 2291-5222

IS - 2

M1 - e11

ER -