A mobile phone program to track young people’s experiences of mood, stress and coping
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Research examining adolescent mood, stresses, and coping has tended to use retrospective questionnaires which are affected by recall biases. The aim of this study was to develop, pilot, and evaluate a youth-friendly mobile phone program to monitor, in real-time, young people’s everyday experiences of mood, stress, and their coping behaviours.
Method and design
A momentary sampling program was designed for mobile phones, and ran for 7 days, administering a brief questionnaire four random times each day, capturing information on current activity, mood, responses to negative mood, stresses, alcohol and cannabis use. Eleven high school students reviewed the program in focus groups, and 18 students completed 7 days of monitoring.
Engagement with the mobiletype program was high with 76% of 504 possible entries completed and 94% (17/18) of the participants reporting that the program adequately captured their moods, thoughts, and activities. The mobiletype program captured meaningful and analyzable data on the way young people’s moods, stresses, coping strategies, and alcohol and cannabis use, vary both between and within individuals.
The mobiletype program captured a range of detailed and interesting qualitative and quantitative data about young people’s everyday mood, stresses, responses, and general functioning.
Keywordsmobile phone momentary sampling adolescents mood coping
This study was supported by a research grant from The beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence in Depression and Related Disorders. We would like to thank Prof. Anthony Jorm and Dr. Judy Proudfoot for reviewing the manuscript prior to submission.
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