↓ Skip to main content

Reducing depressive symptomatology with a smartphone app: study protocol for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Overview of attention for article published in Trials, May 2017
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (71st percentile)

Mentioned by

twitter
4 tweeters
patent
1 patent

Citations

dimensions_citation
20 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
339 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Title
Reducing depressive symptomatology with a smartphone app: study protocol for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial
Published in
Trials, May 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13063-017-1960-1
Pubmed ID
Authors

Cezar Giosan, Oana Cobeanu, Cristina Mogoaşe, Aurora Szentagotai, Vlad Mureşan, Rareș Boian

Abstract

Depression has become one of the leading contributors to the global disease burden. Evidence-based treatments for depression are available, but access to them is still limited in some instances. As technology has become more integrated into mental health care, computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols have become available and have been recently transposed to mobile environments (e.g., smartphones) in the form of "apps." Preliminary research on some depression apps has shown promising results in reducing subthreshold or mild to moderate depressive symptoms. However, this small number of studies reports a low statistical power and they have not yet been replicated. Moreover, none of them included an active placebo comparison group. This is problematic, as a "digital placebo effect" may explain some of the positive effects documented until now. The aim of this study is to test a newly developed mobile app firmly grounded in the CBT theory of depression to determine whether this app is clinically useful in decreasing moderate depressive symptoms when compared with an active placebo. Additionally, we are interested in the app's effect on emotional wellbeing and depressogenic cognitions. Romanian-speaking adults (18 years and older) with access to a computer and the Internet and owning a smartphone are included in the study. A randomized, three-arm clinical trial is being conducted (i.e., active intervention, placebo intervention and delayed intervention). Two hundred and twenty participants with moderate depressive symptoms (i.e., obtaining scores >9 and ≤16 on the Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9) will be randomized to the three conditions. Participants undergoing therapy, presenting serious mental health problems, or legal or health issues that would prevent them from using the app, as well as participants reporting suicidal ideation are excluded. Participants randomized to the active and placebo interventions will use the smartphone app for 6 weeks. A short therapist check-in via phone will take place every week. Participants in the delayed-intervention condition will be given access to the app after 6 weeks from randomization. The primary outcome is the level of depressive symptomatology. The intervention delivered through the app to the active condition includes psychoeducational materials and exercises based on CBT for depression, while the placebo intervention uses a sham version of the app (i.e., similar structure of courses and exercises). To our knowledge, this study protocol is the first to test the efficacy of a smartphone app for depressive symptomatology in the form of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that includes an active placebo condition. As such, this can substantially add to the body of evidence supporting the use of apps designed to decrease depression. ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT03060200 . Registered on 1 February 2017. The first participant was enrolled on 17 February 2017.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 4 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 339 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
Unknown 338 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 55 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 49 14%
Researcher 38 11%
Student > Bachelor 37 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 29 9%
Other 55 16%
Unknown 76 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 88 26%
Medicine and Dentistry 52 15%
Nursing and Health Professions 25 7%
Computer Science 21 6%
Social Sciences 15 4%
Other 38 11%
Unknown 100 29%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 06 January 2022.
All research outputs
#5,170,545
of 21,479,159 outputs
Outputs from Trials
#1,784
of 5,421 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#79,310
of 283,659 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Trials
#3
of 3 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,479,159 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 75th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 5,421 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 8.0. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 283,659 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 3 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one.