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Mental health mobile application self-help for adolescents exhibiting psychological distress: A SCED

Authors: Badesha, Wilde & Dawson (2022)

This study aimed to investigate the utility of a mental health app, underpinned by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in reducing psychological distress among adolescents. The study used a multiple-baseline single-case experimental design, tracking variables across baseline and intervention phases and also administered surveys assessing participant experience. Five participants with moderate-to-severe levels of psychological distress engaged with the CBT-based app over five weeks. The study found a small overall effect of the intervention on psychological distress, but outcomes were dependent on the analysis conducted. The intervention appeared to promote an increase in use of adaptive cognitive strategies but not a decrease in negative thinking styles. The CBT app did not promote changes in participant well-being. Participants’ feedback highlighted practical challenges in utilising the app. Overall, the study suggests that app-based CBT may lead to small improvements in psychological distress in adolescents but cautions that there are a range of barriers to engagement and further research is required.

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Full reference: Badesha, K., Wilde, S., & Dawson, D. L. (2022). Mental health mobile application self‐help for adolescents exhibiting psychological distress: A single case experimental design. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 96, 223-248

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