Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Mobile apps are promising for teaching how to practice psychological skills in high-risk and in vivo momentary situations, but there has been minimal research on the immediate effects of app-based skill coaching on mental health in-the-moment. This study analyzed the mobile app data in a non-clinical sample of 39 adults participating in a larger randomized controlled trial, with participants randomized to an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) mobile app that tailors skill coaching based on in-the-moment variables (n = 17) or an app that provides randomly selected skill coaching (n = 22). Data was collected before and after each ACT skill coaching session on proximal outcome (depression, anxiety, engagement in meaningful activity) and ACT process variables. Multilevel models indicated significant immediate improvements on average following ACT skill coaching sessions on all proximal outcome and ACT process variables, although with relatively small effects ranging between .17 and .27 SD units change. Larger immediate pre-to- post effects from ACT coaching sessions were found for anxiety, experiential avoidance, and cognitive fusion in the tailored app versus random app condition. Overall, results suggest an ACT app can have immediate, in-the-moment effects on psychological functioning, which may be enhanced by tailoring skills to current context.
Levin, M.E., Navarro, C., Cruz, R.A. & Haeger, J. (2018). Comparing in-the-moment skill coaching effects from tailored versus non-tailored Acceptance and Commitment Therapy mobile apps in a non-clinical sample. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.