A mixed methods investigation into adolescents’ use of mental health apps

Pascoe, Hannah (2021) A mixed methods investigation into adolescents’ use of mental health apps. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The prevalence of mental health needs in children and young people continues to outweigh the availability of support and services (Ford et al., 2007; Vizard et al., 2020). Alongside these systemic barriers, adolescents are identified as a population that may experience personal barriers to seeking mental health support (Radez et al., 2020). With advances in and increased use of technology, research in recent years has explored how technology can be used to support mental health and wellbeing, particularly amongst adolescents and young people (Donker et al., 2013; Hollis et al., 2017). The current study sought to explore older adolescents’ use of mental health apps (MHApps) in a real-life context, to increase awareness of how this population are engaging with MHApps and to give direction to future research. An online survey was conducted within sixth form provisions in the East Midlands, with pupils aged 16-to-18 years. Quantitative data gave insight into adolescents’ use of MHApps and was triangulated with qualitative data through a content analysis of most-used MHApp features by app function.

Adolescents reported utilising a range of MHApps, with demographic differences in utilisation. Usage was reported to have increased since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Results concur with previous research and suggest that there is an association between MHApp use and mental wellbeing. Headspace, Calm and Daylio Journal were identified as the top three MHApps being used by adolescents, a finding which provides a potential direction for future research. The most-used apps shared a range of characteristics which concurred and diverged from those that have been identified in previous research: psychoeducation, mood tracking, sleep and data tracking remerged as preferred characteristics. The potential for MHApps to be used as a preventative mental health and wellbeing strategy is highlighted, with findings illuminating the need for further research in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Gulliford, Anthea
Keywords: mental health, adolescents, computer software, apps, Headspace, Calm, Daylio Journal
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 66031
Depositing User: Pascoe, Hannah
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2023 15:24
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 15:24
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/66031

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