Special Issue "Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Mental Health Prevention and Treatment"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ana Fonseca
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive-Behavior Intervention, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra, Rua do Colégio Novo, 3001-802 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: E-mental health; Clinical Psychology; Perinatal mental health; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Professional help-seeking behaviors; Prevention and treatment of mental health issues
Dr. Jorge Osma
Website
Guest Editor
Universidad de Zaragoza and Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Aragón
Interests: Psychopathology; Personality; Psychological Treatments; Emotional Disorders; Information and Communication Technologies; Perinatal mental health; Transdiagnostic; Prevention; Assessment; Evidence Based Interventions
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mental illness is a recognized population health issue, with depression and anxiety disorders being prevalent around the world (4.4% and 3.6% of the global population suffer from depression and anxiety disorders, respectively; World Health Organization (WHO), 2017), and across different regions. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disabilities (7.5% of all years lived with disability in 2015; anxiety disorders are ranked 6th). The estimate cost of depressive and anxiety disorders to the global economy in lost productivity is US $1 trillion per year (WHO, 2019). Despite the negative consequences of mental health disorders, we still face inequalities in treatment access (e.g., limited resources to accommodate the existent needs) and/or barriers to treatment, such as knowledge barriers (e.g., poor mental health literacy), attitudinal barriers (e.g., stigma towards mental health and towards professional help-seeking), and structural barriers (e.g., limited access to healthcare due to geographical or financial restrictions, work constraints or patient’s physical condition). Therefore, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to deliver psychological interventions may be an effective way to improve the patient’s access and use of mental healthcare services, considering its characteristics (e.g., convenience and flexibility of use, privacy, novelty, and appeal). The use of ICT in psychological intervention may be complementary to face-to-face services, but also the sole means of access to psychological interventions (e.g., web-based intervention programs).

The aim of this Special Issue entitled “Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Mental Health Prevention and Treatment” is to publish studies concerning the acceptability, (cost-) effectiveness, potentialities, and limitations of ICT-based psychological services (e.g., web-based interventions, mobile devices, and virtual reality) for mental health promotion, prevention, and treatment.

Dr. Ana Fonseca
Dr. Jorge Osma
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Web-based interventions
  • Mobile devices
  • Telepsychology
  • E-mental health tools: Internet, virtual reality, ecological momentary assessment, tablets, sensors, etc
  • Mental health
  • Promotion, prevention, and treatment
  • Psychological interventions
  • Acceptability
  • Usability
  • Cost-effectiveness

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Mental Health Prevention and Treatment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020461 - 08 Jan 2021

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Minding the Gatekeepers: Referral and Recruitment of Postpartum Mothers with Depression into a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mobile Internet Parenting Intervention to Improve Mood and Optimize Infant Social Communication Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8978; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238978 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mothers in the United States (U.S.) who are of non-dominant culture and socioeconomically disadvantaged experience depression during postpartum at a rate 3 to 4 times higher than mothers in the general population, but these mothers are least likely to receive services for improving [...] Read more.
Mothers in the United States (U.S.) who are of non-dominant culture and socioeconomically disadvantaged experience depression during postpartum at a rate 3 to 4 times higher than mothers in the general population, but these mothers are least likely to receive services for improving mood. Little research has focused on recruiting these mothers into clinical intervention trials. The purpose of this article is to report on a study that provided a unique context within which to view the differential success of three referral approaches (i.e., community agency staff referral, research staff referral, and maternal self-referral). It also enabled a preliminary examination of whether the different strategies yielded samples that differed with regard to risk factors for adverse maternal and child outcomes. The examination took place within a clinical trial of a mobile intervention for improving maternal mood and increasing parent practices that promote infant social communication development. The sample was recruited within the urban core of a large southern city in the U.S. and was comprised primarily of mothers of non-dominant culture, who were experiencing severe socioeconomic disadvantage. Results showed that mothers self-referred at more than 3.5 times the rate that they were referred by either community agency staff or research staff. Moreover, compared to women referred by research staff, women who self-referred and those who were referred by community gatekeepers were as likely to eventually consent to study participation and initiate the intervention. Results are discussed with regard to implications for optimizing referral into clinical intervention trials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness of Psychological Capital Intervention and Its Influence on Work-Related Attitudes: Daily Online Self-Learning Method and Randomized Controlled Trial Design
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8754; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238754 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Research on positive psychology intervention is in its infancy; only a few empirical studies have proved the effectiveness and benefits of psychological capital interventions in workplaces. From a practical perspective, a more convenient intervention approach is needed for when organizations have difficulties in [...] Read more.
Research on positive psychology intervention is in its infancy; only a few empirical studies have proved the effectiveness and benefits of psychological capital interventions in workplaces. From a practical perspective, a more convenient intervention approach is needed for when organizations have difficulties in finding qualified trainers. This study aims to extend the psychological capital intervention (PCI) model and examine its influence on work-related attitudes. A daily online self-learning approach and a randomized controlled trial design are utilized. A final sample of 104 full-time employees, recruited online, is randomly divided into three groups to fill in self-report questionnaires immediately before (T1), immediately after (T2), and one week after (T3) the intervention. The results indicate that the intervention is effective at improving psychological capital (PsyCap), increasing job satisfaction, and reducing turnover intention. The practical implications for human resource managers conducting a flexible and low-cost PsyCap intervention in organizations are discussed. Limitations related to sample characteristics, short duration effect, small sample size, and small effect size are also emphasized. Due to these non-negligible drawbacks of the study design, this study should only be considered as a pilot study of daily online self-learning PsyCap intervention research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Blended Cognitive–Behavioral Intervention for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228631 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite the existence of effective treatment for postpartum depression, few women seek professional help, indicating the need for a new and innovative format of treatment that can overcome help-seeking barriers. This article presents the study protocol for a blended cognitive–behavioral intervention for the [...] Read more.
Despite the existence of effective treatment for postpartum depression, few women seek professional help, indicating the need for a new and innovative format of treatment that can overcome help-seeking barriers. This article presents the study protocol for a blended cognitive–behavioral intervention for the treatment of postpartum depression, by integrating face-to-face sessions with a web-based program (Be a Mom) into one treatment protocol. This study will be a two-arm, noninferiority randomized controlled trial comparing blended intervention to usual treatment for postpartum depression provided in healthcare centers. Portuguese postpartum adult women diagnosed with postpartum depression (according to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder) will be recruited during routine care appointments in local healthcare centers and will be eligible to participate. Measures will be completed at baseline, postintervention, and at three- and six-month follow-ups. The primary outcome will be depressive symptoms. Secondary outcomes will include anxiety symptoms, fatigue, quality of life, marital satisfaction, maternal self-efficacy, and mother–child bonding. Cost-effectiveness analysis and mediator and moderator analysis will be conducted. This study will provide insight into the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a blended psychological intervention in the Portuguese context and increase the empirically validated treatment options for postpartum depression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Utility of an Internet-Delivered Version of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Adolescents (iUP-A): A Pilot Open Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228306 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Adolescents (UP-A) has been shown to be effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents with emotional disorders. Internet-delivered psychological treatments have great potential to improve access to evidence-based psychological therapy [...] Read more.
The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Adolescents (UP-A) has been shown to be effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents with emotional disorders. Internet-delivered psychological treatments have great potential to improve access to evidence-based psychological therapy since they are associated with reduced human and economic costs and less social stigma. Recently, our group developed an online version of the UP-A (the iUP-A) for the treatment of emotional disorders in adolescents. The aim of this pilot trial was to test the clinical utility of the iUP-A in a small sample (n = 12) of adolescents with elevated anxiety and/or depressive symptoms. Intention-to-treat and completer analyses revealed pre- to post-intervention self-reported decreases of anxiety and depressive symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, emotional avoidance, panic disorder symptoms, panic disorder severity, generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, pathological worry, and major depressive disorder symptoms. We found high feasibility and acceptability of the program with all participants and responsible parents reporting an improvement in the adolescents’ ability to cope with emotions. Results suggest that the iUP-A may provide a new approach to improve access to treatment for anxious and depressive adolescents in Spain; however, further research must be conducted before firm conclusions can be drawn. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Low-Intensity Internet-Based Intervention Focused on the Promotion of Positive Affect for the Treatment of Depression in Spanish Primary Care: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8094; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218094 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: A large number of low-intensity Internet-based interventions (IBIs) for the treatment of depression have emerged in Primary Care; most of them focused on decreasing negative emotions. However, recent studies have highlighted the importance of addressing positive affect (PA) as well. This [...] Read more.
Background: A large number of low-intensity Internet-based interventions (IBIs) for the treatment of depression have emerged in Primary Care; most of them focused on decreasing negative emotions. However, recent studies have highlighted the importance of addressing positive affect (PA) as well. This study is a secondary analysis of a randomized control trial. We examine the role of an IBI focused on promoting PA in patients with depression in Primary Care (PC). The specific objectives were to explore the profile of the patients who benefit the most and to analyze the change mechanisms that predict a significantly greater improvement in positive functioning measures. Methods: 56 patients were included. Measures of depression, affect, well-being, health-related quality of life, and health status were administered. Results: Participants who benefited the most were those who had lower incomes and education levels and worse mental health scores and well-being at baseline (7.9%–39.5% of explained variance). Improvements in depression severity and PA were significant predictors of long-term change in well-being, F (3,55) = 17.78, p < 0.001, R2 = 47.8%. Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of implementing IBIs in PC and the relevance of PA as a key target in Major Depressive Disorder treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Randomized Clinical Trial of an Internet-Based Adolescent Depression Prevention Intervention in Primary Care: Internalizing Symptom Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217736 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Approximately 20% of people will experience a depressive episode by adulthood, making adolescence an important developmental target for prevention. CATCH-IT (Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive-behavioral, Humanistic, and Interpersonal Training), an online depression prevention intervention, has demonstrated efficacy in preventing depressive episodes among adolescents [...] Read more.
Approximately 20% of people will experience a depressive episode by adulthood, making adolescence an important developmental target for prevention. CATCH-IT (Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive-behavioral, Humanistic, and Interpersonal Training), an online depression prevention intervention, has demonstrated efficacy in preventing depressive episodes among adolescents reporting elevated symptoms. Our study examines the effects of CATCH-IT compared to online health education (HE) on internalizing symptoms in adolescents at risk for depression. Participants, ages 13–18, were recruited across eight US health systems and were randomly assigned to CATCH-IT or HE. Assessments were completed at baseline, 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. There were no significant differences between groups in change in depressive symptoms (b = −0.31 for CATCH-IT, b = −0.27 for HE, p = 0.80) or anxiety (b = −0.13 for CATCH-IT, b = −0.11 for HE, p = 0.79). Improvement in depressive symptoms was statistically significant (p < 0.05) for both groups (p = 0.004 for CATCH-IT, p = 0.009 for HE); improvement in anxiety was significant for CATCH-IT (p = 0.04) but not HE (p = 0.07). Parental depression and positive relationships with primary care physicians (PRPC) moderated the anxiety findings, and adolescents’ externalizing symptoms and PRPC moderated the depression findings. This study demonstrates the long-term positive effects of both online programs on depressive symptoms and suggests that CATCH-IT demonstrates cross-over effects for anxiety as well. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Use of New Digital Information and Communication Technologies in Psychological Counseling during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207663 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The use of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) has enabled many professionals to continue to provide their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known about the adoption of ICTs by psychologists and the impact of such technologies on their practice. [...] Read more.
The use of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) has enabled many professionals to continue to provide their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known about the adoption of ICTs by psychologists and the impact of such technologies on their practice. This study aimed to explore psychologists’ practices related with the use of ICTs before and during the COVID-19 lockdown, to identify the main changes that the pandemic has brought and the impact that such changes have had on their practice with clients, and also identify the factors that potentially have affected such changes. The Portuguese Psychologists Association announced the study, and 108 psychologists responded to an online survey during the mandatory lockdown. The results showed that these professionals continued to provide their services due to having adopted ICTs. Comparing with face-to-face interventions, psychologists recognized that additional precautions/knowledge were needed to use such technologies. Despite the challenges identified, they described the experience with the use of ICTs as positive, meeting clients’ adherence, and yielding positive results. Psychologists with the most years of professional experience maintained their services the most, but those with average experience showed the most favorable attitudes toward the use of technologies and web-based interventions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Telemonitoring in Chronic Pain Management Using Smartphone Apps: A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Usual Assessment against App-Based Monitoring with and without Clinical Alarms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186568 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background. The usefulness of mHealth in helping to target face-to-face interventions for chronic pain more effectively remains unclear. In the present study, we aim to test whether the Pain Monitor mobile phone application (app) is well accepted by clinicians, and can help improve [...] Read more.
Background. The usefulness of mHealth in helping to target face-to-face interventions for chronic pain more effectively remains unclear. In the present study, we aim to test whether the Pain Monitor mobile phone application (app) is well accepted by clinicians, and can help improve existent medical treatments for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Regarding this last goal, we compared three treatment conditions, namely usual treatment, usual treatment with an app without alarms and usual treatment with an app with alarms. All treatments lasted one month. The three treatments were compared for all outcomes, i.e., pain severity and interference, fatigue, depressed mood, anxiety and anger. Methods. In this randomized controlled trial, the usual monitoring method (i.e., onsite; n = 44) was compared with daily ecological momentary assessment using the Pain Monitor app—both with (n = 43) and without alarms (n = 45). Alarms were sent to the clinicians in the presence of pre-established undesired clinical events and could be used to make treatment adjustments throughout the one-month study. Results. With the exception of anger, clinically significant changes (CSC; 30% improvement) were greater in the app + alarm condition across outcomes (e.g., 43.6% of patients experienced a CSC in depressed mood in the app + alarm condition, which occurred in less than 29% of patients in the other groups). The clinicians were willing to use the app, especially the version with alarms. Conclusions. The use of apps may have some benefits in individual health care, especially when using alarms to tailor treatments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Working Alliance Inventory for Online Interventions-Short Form (WAI-TECH-SF): The Role of the Therapeutic Alliance between Patient and Online Program in Therapeutic Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176169 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: Therapeutic alliance (TA) between the patient and therapist has been related to positive therapeutic outcomes. Because Internet-based interventions are increasingly being implemented, a tool is needed to measure the TA with Internet-based self-guided programs. The Working Alliance Inventory for online interventions (WAI-TECH-SF) [...] Read more.
Background: Therapeutic alliance (TA) between the patient and therapist has been related to positive therapeutic outcomes. Because Internet-based interventions are increasingly being implemented, a tool is needed to measure the TA with Internet-based self-guided programs. The Working Alliance Inventory for online interventions (WAI-TECH-SF) was adapted based on the WAI Short Form (Hatcher & Gillaspy, 2006). The objectives of this study were: (1) to analyse the psychometric properties of the WAI-TECH-SF; (2) to explore the differences in the WAI-TECH-SF scores according to different categories of the sample; and (3) to analyse whether the WAI-TECH-SF can predict therapeutic outcomes and satisfaction with the treatment. Methods: 193 patients diagnosed with depression were included and received blended Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Measures of preferences, satisfaction, and credibility about the treatment, TA with the online program, depressive symptoms, and satisfaction with the treatment were administered. Results: An exploratory factor analysis revealed a one-dimensional structure with adequate internal consistency. Linear regression analyses showed that the WAI-TECH-SF predicted changes in depressive symptoms and satisfaction with the treatment. Conclusions: WAI-TECH-SF is a reliable questionnaire to assess the TA between the patient and the online program, which is associated with positive therapeutic outcomes and satisfaction with the treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Feasibility and Clinical Usefulness of the Unified Protocol in Online Group Format for Bariatric Surgery Candidates: Study Protocol for a Multiple Baseline Experimental Design
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176155 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Obesity is currently becoming a serious global public health problem due to its high prevalence and continuous increase. This condition is associated with different physical and mental health problems. The presence of emotional disorders (anxiety, depression and related disorders) among candidates for bariatric [...] Read more.
Obesity is currently becoming a serious global public health problem due to its high prevalence and continuous increase. This condition is associated with different physical and mental health problems. The presence of emotional disorders (anxiety, depression and related disorders) among candidates for bariatric surgery is very high and predicts worse physical and psychological results. The present study aims to explore the feasibility and clinical usefulness of the Unified Protocol, a transdiagnostic emotion regulation-based intervention, delivered in an online group format to patients with emotional disorder diagnosis or symptoms, who are waiting for bariatric surgery. We will conduct a pilot study with a repeated single-case experimental design (multiple baseline design) in a public mental health service. The sample will consist of 60 participants, who will be randomized to three baseline conditions: 8, 12 or 15 evaluation days before the intervention. Diagnostic criteria, symptomatology and body mass index are the primary outcome measures, and we will include affectivity, personality, quality of life, body image, eating behavior and surgical complications like secondary measures. An analysis of treatment satisfaction will be also performed. Assessment points will include pre-treatment, baseline, treatment, post-treatment, and follow-ups every three months until two years after post-treatment. The results obtained in this study may have important clinical, social and economic implications for public mental health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Designing ICTs for Users with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Usability Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145153 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: Research has supported the cost-effectiveness of cognitive training tools enhanced by information and communication technologies (ICT) in several populations, including individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and age-related cognitive decline. The implementation of ICTs in this population, however, is sometimes challenging to [...] Read more.
Background: Research has supported the cost-effectiveness of cognitive training tools enhanced by information and communication technologies (ICT) in several populations, including individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and age-related cognitive decline. The implementation of ICTs in this population, however, is sometimes challenging to their cognitive and age characteristics. Ultimately, this might compromise the effectiveness of ICT-enhanced therapies in this population. The aim of this study is to test the usability and acceptability of a European project prototype for elderly care, in an attempt to explore the ICT design needs of users with MCI. Methods: Participants were 28 individuals aged 58–95 years and with a diagnosis of MCI. Results: The results showed a low perception of peripheral elements and the need to place main interaction elements in the centre of the screen. The correlation between the general level of autonomy (daily life activities) and the ICT autonomy level was significant and positive. The speed of audio help had a significant impact on performance. Conclusion: The present work contributes to the literature on ICT usability needs of users with MCI. Some usability recommendations for designing interfaces for this type of user are provided in the text. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Be a Mom’s Efficacy in Enhancing Positive Mental Health among Postpartum Women Presenting Low Risk for Postpartum Depression: Results from a Pilot Randomized Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134679 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, we conducted a preliminary investigation of the efficacy of Be a Mom, a web-based self-guided intervention, in enhancing positive mental health among postpartum women at low risk for postpartum depression. Additionally, we examined Be a Mom’s efficacy regarding [...] Read more.
In this study, we conducted a preliminary investigation of the efficacy of Be a Mom, a web-based self-guided intervention, in enhancing positive mental health among postpartum women at low risk for postpartum depression. Additionally, we examined Be a Mom’s efficacy regarding secondary outcomes as well as its acceptability and adherence. A total of 367 participants were randomly assigned to the Be a Mom group (n = 191) or to the waiting-list control group (n = 176) and completed baseline (T1) and postintervention (T2) assessments. The intervention group reported significant increases in positive mental health between T1 and T2 compared to the control group. Additionally, group effects were found for depressive and anxiety symptoms. A significantly higher proportion of participants in the Be a Mom group had an improvement trajectory (from not flourishing at T1 to flourishing at T2). A total of 62 (32.5%) women completed Be a Mom, and most would use it again if needed (n = 82/113; 72.6%). This study provides preliminary evidence of Be a Mom’s efficacy in increasing positive mental health among low-risk postpartum women. Our findings support mental health promotion strategies in the postpartum period and highlight the important role of web-based CBT interventions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Brief Psychological Intervention Through Mobile App and Conference Calls for the Prevention of Depression in Non-Professional Caregivers: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124578 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Despite its potential, no intervention aimed at non-professional caregivers administered through a smartphone app has been proven to prevent depression. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of an indicated depression-prevention intervention for non-professional caregivers administered through [...] Read more.
Despite its potential, no intervention aimed at non-professional caregivers administered through a smartphone app has been proven to prevent depression. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of an indicated depression-prevention intervention for non-professional caregivers administered through an app with the addition of conference-call contact. The intervention was administered to 31 caregivers (Mean age = 54.0 years, 93.5% women). An independent evaluation determined the incidence of depression, depressive symptoms, risk of developing depression, and the variables in the theoretical model (positive environmental reinforcement, negative automatic thoughts) at the pre-intervention and post-intervention, as well as the one- and three-month follow-ups. The incidence of depression at 3 months of follow-up was 6.5%. There was a significant reduction in depressive symptoms (p < 0.001) and in the risk of developing depression (p < 0.001) at the post-intervention and at the one- and three-month follow-ups. The model’s variables improved significantly after the intervention and were associated with post-intervention depressive symptoms. The intervention was more effective in caregivers who had a lower level of depressive symptoms at the pre-intervention. Adherence and satisfaction with the intervention were high. The results encourage future research using a randomized controlled clinical trial. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Profiling Dating Apps Users: Sociodemographic and Personality Characteristics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103653 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The development of new technologies, the expansion of the Internet, and the emergence of dating apps (e.g., Tinder, Grindr) in recent years have changed the way to meet and approach potential romantic and/or sexual partners. The recent phenomenon has led to some gaps [...] Read more.
The development of new technologies, the expansion of the Internet, and the emergence of dating apps (e.g., Tinder, Grindr) in recent years have changed the way to meet and approach potential romantic and/or sexual partners. The recent phenomenon has led to some gaps in the literature on individual differences (sociodemographic variables and personality traits) between users (previous and current users) and non-users of dating apps. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between using dating apps, sociodemographics (gender, age, sexual orientation, and relationship status), and bright and dark personality traits. Participants were 1705 university students (70% women, 30% men), aged between 18 and 26 (M = 20.60, SD = 2.09), who completed several online questionnaires. Through multinomial logistic regression analyses, it was found that men, older youth, and members of sexual minorities were more likely to be current and previous dating apps users. Being single and higher scores in open-mindedness were associated with higher probability to be current dating apps user. The dark personality showed no predictive ability. The discussion highlights the usefulness of knowing and considering the sociodemographic background and the characteristics of personality patterns in the design and implementation of preventive and promotion programs of healthy romantic and sexual relationships to improve people’s better health and well-being. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Can We Predict the Evolution of Depressive Symptoms, Adjustment, and Perceived Social Support of Pregnant Women from Their Personality Characteristics? a Technology-Supported Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3439; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103439 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: Research exploring the relationship between personality and important pregnancy outcomes (i.e., depressive symptoms, adjustment, and perceived social support) tends to be cross-sectional, arguably due to the difficulties of conducting longitudinal and mental health research in this population. The objective of this [...] Read more.
Background: Research exploring the relationship between personality and important pregnancy outcomes (i.e., depressive symptoms, adjustment, and perceived social support) tends to be cross-sectional, arguably due to the difficulties of conducting longitudinal and mental health research in this population. The objective of this study is to use a web-based solution to longitudinally explore how personality traits are associated, not only with the co-occurrence of these outcomes but also with their evolution during pregnancy. Stability and change of these outcomes will also be investigated. Methods: The sample included 85 pregnant women attending several medical centers in Spain. The web-based assessment included sociodemographic and obstetric variables (ad hoc) and personality (at the second trimester only), and outcomes at both the second and the third trimester (i.e., depressive symptoms, adjustment, and perceived social support). Results: The results showed that adjustment worsened from the second to the third trimester of pregnancy. Neuroticism (N), low extraversion (E), and psychoticism (P) were cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with outcomes. In addition, N and, to a lesser extent P, uniquely contributed to the evolution of these outcomes in the multivariate analyses, including autoregressions. Conclusion: Personality and especially N and P should be evaluated early during pregnancy mental health screening. The use of a web page appears to be a useful tool for that purpose. Technologies might also help disseminate mental health prevention programs for these women, which would be especially recommended for those with a personality profile characterized by high N and P and, to a lesser extent, low E. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
How Are Information and Communication Technologies Supporting Routine Outcome Monitoring and Measurement-Based Care in Psychotherapy? A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093170 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Psychotherapy has proven to be effective for a wide range of mental health problems. However, not all patients respond to the treatment as expected (not-on-track patients). Routine outcome monitoring (ROM) and measurement-based care (MBC), which consist of monitoring patients between appointments and using [...] Read more.
Psychotherapy has proven to be effective for a wide range of mental health problems. However, not all patients respond to the treatment as expected (not-on-track patients). Routine outcome monitoring (ROM) and measurement-based care (MBC), which consist of monitoring patients between appointments and using this data to guide the intervention, have been shown to be particularly useful for these not-on-track patients. Traditionally, though, ROM and MBC have been challenging, due to the difficulties associated with repeated monitoring of patients and providing real-time feedback to therapists. The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) might help reduce these challenges. Therefore, we systematically reviewed evidence regarding the use of ICTs for ROM and MBC in face-to-face psychological interventions for mental health problems. The search included published and unpublished studies indexed in the electronic databases PubMed, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS. Main search terms were variations of the terms “psychological treatment”, “progress monitoring or measurement-based care”, and “technology”. Eighteen studies met eligibility criteria. In these, ICTs were frequently handheld technologies, such as smartphone apps, tablets, or laptops, which were involved in the whole process (assessment and feedback). Overall, the use of technology for ROM and MBC during psychological interventions was feasible and acceptable. In addition, the use of ICTs was found to be effective, particularly for not-on-track patients, which is consistent with similar non-ICT research. Given the heterogeneity of reviewed studies, more research and replication is needed to obtain robust findings with different technological solutions and to facilitate the generalization of findings to different mental health populations. Full article
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