Examining the Feasibility of a Resilience Mental Health Application in Adolescents




Elledge, Daniel Kuroda

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BACKGROUND: Resilience is defined as the ability to rely on internal characteristics and external strengths to adapt in the face of adverse events. While universal resilience-enhancing programs are effective for adolescents, there is still a need for interventions that are easily accessible and specific to the individual. Phone applications are easy to use, tailored to the individual, and have shown positive effects for mental health outcomes. This study will determine if a resilience application is feasible and acceptable for adolescents, evaluating whether or not short-term use leads to changes in resilience. METHODS: For Study 1, Phase 1, individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with adolescents, parents, teachers, and clinicians to discuss possible incentives for using a mental health application, the benefits of using an application, and what concerns would arise from using an application. For Study 1, Phase 2, individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with adolescents, parents, teachers, and clinicians to gather feedback about the resilience application prototype. For Study 2, 40 adolescents used the application for 30 days to gather more information about feasibility, acceptability, and if there were significant positive changes with resilience and other secondary mental health outcomes. RESULTS: Multiple themes were identified through Study 1 individual interviews and focus groups, including application content, features, engagement, benefits, concerns, and improvement. Study 1, Phase 2 adolescents and adults reported the prototype was feasible and acceptable through the Computer System Usability Questionnaire (M = 6.30, SD = 1.03) and Mobile Application Rating Scale (M = 4.08, SD = 0.61). For Study 2, there were no significant differences for resilience and mental health outcomes after using the application for 30 days. Users appeared to prefer the depression module and survey sections, which provided mental health feedback. CONCLUSION: Qualitative and quantitative data provide evidence that youth are interested in a resilience mental health application and found the current prototype to be feasible. Although there were no significant mental health changes for Study 2 users, clinical implications and future directions are discussed for mental health application research.

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