Anxiety disorders affect approximately one in six people, causing significant problems in their quality of life and that of their families with a significant percentage of mentally ill people not showing compliance with treatment or not receiving appropriate treatment. Research data therefore reveal the need to develop new and effective interventions that will improve the compliance and therapeutic management of the mentally ill. Because of the recent technological advancement, the field of electronic mental health applications (MHapps) offers unique opportunities which can contribute to self-management of mental health problems and patient compliance, as well as to development of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Mental health applications (MHapps) offer a unique opportunity for expanding availability and quality of treatment of mental health disorders, however few applications have been carefully assessed so far making their effectiveness questionable. The present study investigated the effect of MHapp FiD (Feel-Identity) on anxiety- an innovative electronic prototype application-in a sample of adults over a two-week period. Participants made daily use of the application, based on self-monitoring and self-recording in accordance with the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy protocol, with feedback interventions being fully automated. In order to investigate anxiety levels, the STAI questionnaire (State & Trait Anxiety Inventory) was administered over three different time periods: before the use of MHapp FiD, following the first week after its use, and following the second week after its use. The results between the 3 groups of application usage, showed a statistically significant decrease of the average TRAIT anxiety levels between the 1st and the 3rd administration, i.e., after two weeks of application usage, equal to -3.020 units (Mean Difference = -3.020, p-value = 0.006 <0.01), and a statistically significant drop of the average total anxiety levels, between the administration of the 2nd and the 3rd administration, i.e., over the second week of application usage, equal to -5.388 units (Mean Difference = -5.388, p-value = 0.029 <0.05). Τhere was no statistically significant difference as to the average STATE anxiety levels. The results showed a correlation between the daily use of the FiD application and the reduction of anxiety, providing a promising perspective for dissemination of the application in clinical populations with the addition of more functions and interventions.

KEYWORDS: anxiety, mental health application, smartphone, self-monitoring, self-recording, feedback

Charalampos Pischos, Antonios Politis, Artemios Pechlivanidis, Vassilis Masdrakis, Charalampos Papageorgiou


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