Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2021) | Viewed by 52912

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Children and Adolescents Psychotherapy and Technology Research Lab, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
Interests: child and adolescent psychotherapy; integration of technology; behavioral interventions technologies; digital interventions

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Guest Editor
Institute for International Internet Interventions for Health (i4Health), Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
Interests: internet interventions; digital interventions; integration of technology; behavioral intervention technologies

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Guest Editor
Children and Adolescents Psychotherapy and Technology Research Lab, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
Interests: pediatric psychology; comorbid mental health and medical conditions; health psychology; integration of technology; behavioral intervention technologies; pediatric wellbeing

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Guest Editor
1. Internet, Health and Clinical Psychology Research Group, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
2. Visiting researcher at Center for m2Health, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
Interests: development and evaluation of accessible online- and ‘blended’ behavioral intervention for treating common mental health disorders in adolescents and young adults

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The integration and use of technology and digital interventions are growing rapidly in psychology. When treating children and adolescents, and tranisitional age youth, technology can bridge the gap between the staggering need for treatment in this population and the low rates of treatment utilization. Technology and digital interventions can provide alternative or adjunct methods to support patients, while addressing and potentially ameliorating these barriers. This has become even more crucial during the current global pandemic (COVID-19), when many clinicians are forced to utilize creative strategies to reach their patients remotely.

The purpose of this Special Issue entitled "Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth” is to invite papers that focus on how technology can be used to support the treatment of mental health in youth. This includes the use of behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) such as wearable devices, mobile phone apps, chatbots, video games, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, passive data, and any other digital platforms.

We welcome contributions from all the social sciences and interdisciplinary approaches. Articles can have theoretically and methodologically diverse approaches and can cover the idea of technological/digital approaches when treating child and adolescent mental health from conceptual, empirical, policy, and/or practice perspectives. In particular, the Special Issue is seeking empirical articles but also welcomes meta-analyses, systematic reviews, conceptual, or practice/intervention implementation papers.

We welcome articles that address the following criteria: 

  • The study involves the use of technology;
  • The study targets mental health, or well-being, or pain, or comorbid mental/medical conditions;
  • Technology format/platform/intervention is applied to or utilized by human beings;
  • Technology is used to inform OR conduct the intervention, treatment, or program for a mental health condition;
  • Technology is used as the format/platform to assess a mental health disorder, mental health condition, or well-being.

Prof. Dr. Eduardo Bunge
Ms. Taylor N. Stephens
Dr. Blanca Pineda
Dr. Naira Topooco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Technology
  • Behavioral intervention technologies (BITs)
  • Digital interventions
  • Psychotherapy
  • therapeutic interventions
  • treatment
  • Mental health
  • Youth: children and adolescents

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 193 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial Introduction to Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth
by Eduardo L. Bunge, Blanca S. Pineda, Naira Topooco and Taylor N. Stephens
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(12), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10120461 - 3 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2388
Abstract
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10–20% of adolescents (10–19 years old) worldwide suffer from mental health conditions, with 50% starting at the age of 14 (World Health Organization 2020) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)

Research

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15 pages, 1417 KiB  
Article
Making Progress Monitoring Easier and More Motivating: Developing a Client Data Collection App Incorporating User-Centered Design and Behavioral Economics Insights
by Heather J. Nuske, Jacqueline E. Buck, Brinda Ramesh, Emily M. Becker-Haimes, Kelly Zentgraf and David S. Mandell
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11030106 - 3 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4029
Abstract
Data collection is an important component of evidence-based behavioral interventions for children with autism, but many one-to-one aides (i.e., behavioral support staff) do not systemically collect quantitative data that are necessary for best-practice client progress monitoring. Data collection of clients’ behaviors often involves [...] Read more.
Data collection is an important component of evidence-based behavioral interventions for children with autism, but many one-to-one aides (i.e., behavioral support staff) do not systemically collect quantitative data that are necessary for best-practice client progress monitoring. Data collection of clients’ behaviors often involves labor-intensive pen-and-paper practices. In addition, the solitary nature of one-to-one work limits opportunities for timely supervisor feedback, potentially reducing motivation to collect data. We incorporated principles from behavioral economics and user-centered design to develop a phone-based application, Footsteps, to address these challenges. We interviewed nine one-to-one aides working with children with autism and seven supervisors to ask for their app development ideas. We then developed the Footsteps app prototype and tested the prototype with 10 one-to-one aides and supervisors through three testing cycles. At each cycle, one-to-one aides rated app usability. Participants provided 76 discrete suggestions for improvement, including 29 new app features (e.g., behavior timer), 20 feature modifications (e.g., numeric type-in option for behavior frequency), four flow modifications (e.g., deleting a redundant form), and 23 out-of-scope suggestions. Of the participants that tested the app, 90% rated usability as good or excellent. Results support continuing to develop Footsteps and testing its impact in a clinical trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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9 pages, 538 KiB  
Article
Using an Artificial Intelligence Based Chatbot to Provide Parent Training: Results from a Feasibility Study
by Guido A. Entenberg, Malenka Areas, Andrés J. Roussos, Ana Laura Maglio, Jillian Thrall, Milagros Escoredo and Eduardo L. Bunge
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(11), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10110426 - 5 Nov 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4623
Abstract
Online parenting training programs have shown to be effective. However, no studies on parent training programs delivered through chatbots have been reported yet. Aim. This study aims to assess the feasibility of delivering parenting skills through a chatbot. Methods. A sample of 33 [...] Read more.
Online parenting training programs have shown to be effective. However, no studies on parent training programs delivered through chatbots have been reported yet. Aim. This study aims to assess the feasibility of delivering parenting skills through a chatbot. Methods. A sample of 33 parents completed a pilot feasibility study. Engagement, knowledge, net-promoters score and qualitative responses were analyzed. Results. A total of 78.8% of the sample completed the intervention. On average, participants remembered 3.7 skills out of the 5 presented and reported that they would recommend the chatbot to other parents (net promoter score was 7.44; SD = 2.31 out of 10). Overall, parents sent a mean of 54.24 (SD = 13.5) messages to the chatbot, and the mean number of words per message was 3. Main themes parents discussed with the chatbot included issues regarding their child’s habits, handling disruptive behaviors, interpersonal development, and emotional difficulties. Parents generally commented on the usefulness of the intervention and suggested improvements to the chatbot’s communication style. Conclusions. Overall, users completed the intervention, engaged with the bot, and would recommend the intervention to others. This suggests parenting skills could be delivered via chatbots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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18 pages, 2913 KiB  
Article
21-Day Stress Detox: Open Trial of a Universal Well-Being Chatbot for Young Adults
by Ruth Williams, Sarah Hopkins, Chris Frampton, Chester Holt-Quick, Sally Nicola Merry and Karolina Stasiak
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(11), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10110416 - 30 Oct 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4875
Abstract
There has been a lot of interest in digital mental health interventions but adherence to online programmes has been less than optimal. Chatbots that mimic brief conversations may be a more engaging and acceptable mode of delivery. We developed a chatbot, called 21-Day [...] Read more.
There has been a lot of interest in digital mental health interventions but adherence to online programmes has been less than optimal. Chatbots that mimic brief conversations may be a more engaging and acceptable mode of delivery. We developed a chatbot, called 21-Day Stress Detox, to deliver stress management techniques for young adults. The purpose of the study was to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy of this low-intensity digital mental health intervention in a non-clinical population of young adults. The content was derived from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and included evidence-informed elements such as mindfulness and gratitude journaling. It was delivered over 21 daily sessions using the Facebook Messenger platform. Each session was intended to last about 5–7 min and included text, animated GIFs, relaxation tracks and reflective exercises. We conducted an open single-arm trial collecting app usage through passive data collection as well as self-rated satisfaction and qualitative (open-ended) feedback. Efficacy was assessed via outcome measures of well-being (World Health Organisation (Five) Well-being Index; WHO-5; and Personal Well-being Measure; ONS4); stress (Perceived Stress Scale–10 item version; PSS-10); and anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale; GAD-7). One hundred and ten of the 124 participants who completed baseline commenced the chatbot and 64 returned the post-intervention assessment. Eighty-one percent were female and 51% were first year students. Forty-five percent were NZ European and 41% were Asian. Mean engagement was 11 days out 21 days (SD = 7.8). Most (81%) found the chatbot easy to use. Sixty-three percent rated their satisfaction as 7 out of 10 or higher. Qualitative feedback revealed that convenience and relatable content were the most valued features. There was a statistically significant improvement on the WHO-5 of 7.38 (SD = 15.07; p < 0.001) and a mean reduction on the PSS-10 of 1.77 (SD = 4.69; p = 0.004) equating to effect sizes of 0.49 and 0.38, respectively. Those who were clinically anxious at baseline (n = 25) experienced a greater reduction of GAD-7 symptoms than those (n = 39) who started the study without clinical anxiety (−1.56, SD = 3.31 vs. 0.67, SD = 3.30; p = 0.011). Using a chatbot to deliver universal psychological support appears to be feasible, acceptable, have good levels of engagement, and lead to significant improvements in well-being and stress. Future iterations of the chatbot should involve a more personalised content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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19 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
Adaptation of an Evidence-Based Online Depression Prevention Intervention for College Students: Intervention Development and Pilot Study Results
by Tracy R. G. Gladstone, L. Sophia Rintell, Katherine R. Buchholz and Taylor L. Myers
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100398 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3488
Abstract
College and university students across the United States are experiencing increases in depressive symptoms and risk for clinical depression. As college counseling centers strive to address the problem through wellness outreach and psychoeducation, limited resources make it difficult to reach students who would [...] Read more.
College and university students across the United States are experiencing increases in depressive symptoms and risk for clinical depression. As college counseling centers strive to address the problem through wellness outreach and psychoeducation, limited resources make it difficult to reach students who would most benefit. Technology-based prevention programs have the potential to increase reach and address barriers to access encountered by students in need of mental health support. Part 1 of this manuscript describes the development of the Willow intervention, an adaptation of the technology-based CATCH-IT depression prevention intervention using a community participatory approach, for use by students at a women’s liberal arts college. Part 2 presents data from a pilot study of Willow with N = 34 (mean age = 19.82, SD = 1.19) students. Twenty-nine participants (85%) logged onto Willow at least once, and eight (24%) completed the full intervention. Participants positively rated the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of Willow. After eight weeks of use, results suggested decreases in depressive symptoms (95% CI (0.46–3.59)), anxiety symptoms (95% CI (0.41–3.04)), and rumination (95% CI (0.45–8.18)). This internet-based prevention intervention was found to be acceptable, feasible to implement, and may be associated with decreased internalizing symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
17 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Randomized Clinical Trial of Primary Care Based Online Depression Prevention Intervention: Impact on Adolescent Modifiable Factors and Behaviors
by Kushagra B. Gupta, Calvin Rusiewski, Camilla Koczara, Marian Fitzgibbon, Mark Reinecke, Joshua Fogel, Linda Schiffer, Miae Lee, Emily Sykes, Kathy Griffiths, Tracy R. G. Gladstone and Benjamin W. Van Voorhees
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100385 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2692
Abstract
The developmental period of adolescence can pose a risk for the onset of depressive disorders, but is also a time when potentially modifiable factors and behaviors related to depressive episode onset can develop. An online health intervention can provide an opportunity to reach [...] Read more.
The developmental period of adolescence can pose a risk for the onset of depressive disorders, but is also a time when potentially modifiable factors and behaviors related to depressive episode onset can develop. An online health intervention can provide an opportunity to reach at-risk adolescents in between primary care visits and could impact these modifiable factors and behaviors to support healthy development. We explore the Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive-Behavioral, Humanistic, and Interpersonal Therapy (CATCH-IT), a self-directed online cognitive behavioral therapy prevention intervention, and its impact on modifiable factors and behaviors related to: (1) program completion, (2) normative adolescent development, (3) coping, (4) family relations, (5) general health behaviors, and (6) externalizing behaviors, in a primary care sample of adolescents at intermediate to high risk of developing depression. Adolescents were enrolled into either CATCH-IT or Health Education (HE) control group and followed for 24 months. CATCH-IT improved some factors related to program completion (e.g., motivation, recommendation to peers for depression prevention, and physician positive relationship), coping (e.g., perceived behavior change), and family relations (e.g., parental psychological control, sibling relative status) as compared to HE. HE improved normative adolescent development (e.g., health and loss life events) as compared to CATCH-IT. CATCH-IT utilized in primary care may benefit some at-risk adolescents in selective factors and behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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13 pages, 584 KiB  
Article
Long Term Outcomes of Blended CBT Compared to Face-to-Face CBT and Treatment as Usual for Adolescents with Depressive Disorders: Analyses at 12 Months Post-Treatment
by Sanne P. A. Rasing, Yvonne A. J. Stikkelbroek, Wouter den Hollander, Ana Okorn and Denise H. M. Bodden
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100373 - 2 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3071
Abstract
Depression is a major problem in youth mental health and identified as the leading cause of disability worldwide. There is ample research on the acute effects of treatment, with estimated small-to-moderate effect sizes. However, there is a lack of research on long-term outcomes. [...] Read more.
Depression is a major problem in youth mental health and identified as the leading cause of disability worldwide. There is ample research on the acute effects of treatment, with estimated small-to-moderate effect sizes. However, there is a lack of research on long-term outcomes. A total of 129 adolescents with clinical depression (82.2% female), aged 13–22 (M = 16.60, SD = 2.03), received blended CBT, face-to-face CBT or treatment as usual. Data were collected at 12 months after the intervention and compared between treatment conditions. Clinical diagnosis, depressive symptoms, suicide risk, internalizing symptoms and externalizing symptoms decreased significantly over time, from baseline to the 12-month follow-up, and also from post-treatment to the 12-month follow-up in all three conditions. Changes were not significantly different between conditions. At the long-term, improvements following the treatment continued. Due to the large amount of missing data and use of history control condition, our findings need to be interpreted with caution. However, we consider these findings as a clinical imperative. More evidence might contribute to convincing adolescents to start with therapy, knowing it has lasting effects. Further, especially for adolescents for whom it is not possible to receive face-to-face treatment, blended treatment might be a valuable alternative. Our findings might contribute to the implementation of blended CBT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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15 pages, 513 KiB  
Article
The Role of Human Support on Engagement in an Online Depression Prevention Program for Youth
by Julia Rogers, Tracy Gladstone, Benjamin Van Voorhees and Eduardo L. Bunge
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(8), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080285 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3150
Abstract
Background: Depression is a significant public health problem for adolescents. The goal of this study was to evaluate the moderating role of human support in an online depression prevention program on both depression outcomes and overall engagement with the intervention. CATCH-IT is an [...] Read more.
Background: Depression is a significant public health problem for adolescents. The goal of this study was to evaluate the moderating role of human support in an online depression prevention program on both depression outcomes and overall engagement with the intervention. CATCH-IT is an Internet-based depression prevention program that has been shown to reduce symptoms for adolescents who report elevated depression symptom scores, compared to a health education (HE) control group. Participants in the CATCH-IT arm received human support (e.g., motivational interviewing, completed contacts). This study analyzes the moderating role of human support on depressive outcomes and engagement, and examines if engagement predicts depression outcomes. Methods: This secondary analysis consists of a randomized controlled trial for adolescents assigned to the CATCH-IT group. Mixed effects modeling, general linear models, and an exploratory multiple linear regression were used to explore the moderating relationship of human support between intervention and overall engagement. Study variables included depression outcomes (e.g., Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD)), engagement components (e.g., modules completed, time on the site, and characters typed) and human support (e.g., motivational interviews and completed contacts.) Results: Results showed no significant relationship between contacts, motivational interviews, and depression scores. However, motivational interviews increased engagement with the intervention, such that those who received more motivational interviews completed significantly more modules, spent more time on the site, and typed more characters (p < 0.05). The number of contacts increased engagement with the intervention, and those who received more contacts spent more time on the site and typed more characters (p < 0.05). Exploratory multiple linear regression modeling demonstrated that male, African American/Black, and Hispanic/Latinx users were less engaged compared to other users. Lastly, engagement was not a significant predictor of depression outcomes (p > 0.05). Conclusions: The efficacy of CATCH-IT is not better explained by the degree to which participants received doses of human support from providers during the use of this online intervention. This may reveal the high potential of effective online interventions without the blended integration of human support for adolescents. To increase engagement of adolescents with an online depression prevention program, human support may be more efficient when utilizing MI rather than technical support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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15 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Digital Overload among College Students: Implications for Mental Health App Use
by Arielle C. Smith, Lauren A. Fowler, Andrea K. Graham, Beth K. Jaworski, Marie-Laure Firebaugh, Grace E. Monterubio, Melissa M. Vázquez, Bianca DePietro, Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Katherine N. Balantekin, Naira Topooco, Denise E. Wilfley, C. Barr Taylor and Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(8), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080279 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 8903
Abstract
Mental health phone applications (apps) provide cost-effective, easily accessible support for college students, yet long-term engagement is often low. Digital overload, defined as information burden from technological devices, may contribute to disengagement from mental health apps. This study aimed to explore the influence [...] Read more.
Mental health phone applications (apps) provide cost-effective, easily accessible support for college students, yet long-term engagement is often low. Digital overload, defined as information burden from technological devices, may contribute to disengagement from mental health apps. This study aimed to explore the influence of digital overload and phone use preferences on mental health app use among college students, with the goal of informing how notifications could be designed to improve engagement in mental health apps for this population. A semi-structured interview guide was developed to collect quantitative data on phone use and notifications as well as qualitative data on digital overload and preferences for notifications and phone use. Interview transcripts from 12 college students were analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants had high daily phone use and received large quantities of notifications. They employed organization and management strategies to filter information and mitigate the negative effects of digital overload. Digital overload was not cited as a primary barrier to mental health app engagement, but participants ignored notifications for other reasons. Findings suggest that adding notifications to mental health apps may not substantially improve engagement unless additional factors are considered, such as users’ motivation and preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)

Review

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27 pages, 991 KiB  
Review
Meta-Analysis of Parent Training Programs Utilizing Behavior Intervention Technologies
by Kimberly B. Bausback and Eduardo L. Bunge
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100367 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4683
Abstract
Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) traditionally occurs in face-to-face (FTF BPT). Recently, Behavioral Intervention Technology (BIT) has been developed to deliver BPT in lieu of or as an adjunct to FTF BPT using websites, computer software, smartphone applications, podcasts, pre-recorded sessions, and teletherapy. The [...] Read more.
Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) traditionally occurs in face-to-face (FTF BPT). Recently, Behavioral Intervention Technology (BIT) has been developed to deliver BPT in lieu of or as an adjunct to FTF BPT using websites, computer software, smartphone applications, podcasts, pre-recorded sessions, and teletherapy. The present meta-analysis reviews BIT BPT randomized control and comparison studies to determine the overall efficacy of BITs, if the level of human support significantly effects BIT BPT treatment outcomes, and which populations BIT BPT are effective for, by analyzing the following study variables: socioeconomic status, race, and clinical population. The analyses indicated that, overall, BIT BPT is an effective treatment (g = 0.62), and did not indicate a significant difference between levels of human support (χ2 (3) = 4.94, p = 0.18). Analysis did indicate a significant difference between studies that used waitlist or education control groups, compared to studies that used active treatment controls (χ2 (1) = 12.90, p = 0.00). The analyses did not indicate a significant difference between clinical population, low socioeconomic status, and racial minority studies. These findings provide preliminary evidence that BIT BPT is effective for treating child and adolescent externalizing behavior in a variety of populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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Other

15 pages, 278 KiB  
Concept Paper
Clinician Delivery of Virtual Pivotal Response Treatment with Children with Autism during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Devon M. White, Claire Aufderheide-Palk and Grace W. Gengoux
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(11), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10110414 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5373
Abstract
This concept paper describes how the evidence-based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) model of autism treatment was adapted for delivery via telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple features of existing video conference technology were utilized for implementation of PRT motivational strategies with young children [...] Read more.
This concept paper describes how the evidence-based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) model of autism treatment was adapted for delivery via telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple features of existing video conference technology were utilized for implementation of PRT motivational strategies with young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PRT is an empirically supported treatment for ASD which can be taught to parents and delivered directly by trained therapists. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the majority of clinical care for children with ASD had to be transitioned to telehealth delivery, models for parent training had been previously established. However, no model for direct clinician delivery of virtual PRT existed. This manuscript outlines practical details of the model developed by our team and provided to a total of 17 families between April 2020 and May 2021. Key lessons from technological adaptations of the PRT motivational strategies are described in order to inform future empirical investigation of this approach. The virtual PRT delivery model can serve as a guide for engaging children in meaningful social interaction and communication practice via video conference software, with implications for expanding access to autism treatment as well as for motivating a wide range of children in distance learning activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
13 pages, 269 KiB  
Brief Report
Adolescent Perspectives on How an Adjunctive Mobile App for Social Anxiety Treatment Impacts Treatment Engagement in Telehealth Group Therapy
by Celine Lu, Wendy Chu, Shannon Madden, Bambang Parmanto and Jennifer Susan Silk
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100397 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3541
Abstract
Adjunctive mobile mental health apps to supplement mental health treatment have been growing in recent years given their ability to address treatment engagement barriers. However, few studies have explicitly examined how these mobile apps impact treatment engagement, and even fewer have investigated this [...] Read more.
Adjunctive mobile mental health apps to supplement mental health treatment have been growing in recent years given their ability to address treatment engagement barriers. However, few studies have explicitly examined how these mobile apps impact treatment engagement, and even fewer have investigated this topic through adolescents’ perspectives. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with five adolescents who used an adjunctive mobile mental health app in combination with telehealth cognitive behavioral group therapy for social anxiety. Using a multidimensional framework of treatment engagement, we elicited their perspectives on how the app impacted their engagement in telehealth group therapy and gathered their suggestions for improving the app. Using a consensual qualitative research approach, we learned that adolescents felt the app increased their comfort with others in therapy and their expectations about the effectiveness of mental health apps. They also indicated that the app prepared them for in-session participation and facilitated out-of-session skills practice. Adolescents had valuable suggestions such as adding app features to facilitate social connectedness between group members and adding appointment reminders in the app. This preliminary study highlights implications for future adjunctive mobile mental health app developers and researchers to increase adolescents’ treatment engagement in mental health services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Mental Health in Youth)
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