Oiva: a mobile phone intervention for improving psychological flexibility

Elina M. Mattila, Kirsikka Kaipainen, Toni Vanhala, Miikka Ermes, Raimo Lappalainen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    Introduction: The increasing prevalence of stress and related mental disorders calls for novel methods for the prevention and self-management of these problems. Computerized therapies have been proven effective in the management of various mental and physical disorders. Mobile technologies hold further promise as they enable interventions to be delivered and accessed during the daily life of the user. For example, user's activities and context can be detected from sensor data in order to infer opportune moments for influencing the user.
    Objectives: Our objective is to develop a personalized and context-sensitive mobile intervention application based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for increasing psychological flexibility and improving mental and physical wellbeing.
    Methodology: Oiva is a mobile application that can be used for conducting brief self-directed ACT-based exercises with audio, video, or textual guidance. Oiva consists of four intervention modules. Three of the modules are aimed at teaching the user the six core processes of ACT (acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, self-as-context, values, and committed action). The fourth module is related to physical wellbeing, including relaxation, physical activity, and mindful eating. A prototype of Oiva application was tested in two laboratory evaluations.
    Results: The evaluations provided valuable insights for the development of Oiva. The comments of the participants proved the concept understandable, acceptable and useful. The potential of brief interventions delivered at opportune moments was evident.
    Discussion: Mobile applications provide a potentially powerful delivery channel for psychological interventions. Their effectiveness may be further increased by tailoring intervention processes and content to individual's characteristics, needs, preferences, and progress. The sensors embedded in the mobile phone enable detection of users' activities and contexts, such as location and social situations. Context information can be utilized for providing interventions at opportune moments, i.e. when interventions are needed and accepted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42nd Annual Congress of the European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy (EABCT)
    Subtitle of host publicationGeneve, 29 Aug.- 1 Sept. 2012
    PublisherEuropean Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy (EABCT)
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible


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