Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 242–253 | Cite as

Applicability of acceptance and commitment therapy-based mobile app in depression nursing

Original Research


Due to the high burden of depression, new models and methods of mental healthcare need to be developed. Prior research has shown the potential benefits of using technology tools such as mobile apps as self-help or combined with psychological treatment. Therefore, professionals should acquaint themselves with evidence-based apps to be able to use them with clients and guide the clients in their use. The purpose of this study was to explore how an acceptance and commitment therapy-based mobile app was perceived as a self-management tool among nurses, and how it could be applied in the prevention and treatment of depression and other mental health issues. Sixteen Finnish nurses undergoing depression nurse specialist education used the app for 5 weeks and participated in semistructured focus group interviews. Interviews were analyzed by qualitative content analysis. In general, the nurses found the app suitable as a self-management tool and identified three models of using it in clinical practice. Having used the app personally, the nurses were eager to take it into use with various client groups, especially in occupational health but also in the treatment of mental health problems. However, they also raised concerns about the effort needed in familiarizing oneself with the content and pointed out specific client groups for whom the benefits of the app should be carefully weighed against the potential risks. Despite the small sample size, the findings suggest that involving technology tools as part of the nurses’ education could ease their adoption in clinical practice. The degree of professional support in the app use should be aligned to the severity of the mental health problems.


Depression Mobile app mHealth Acceptance and commitment therapy Nurse education Stepped care Mental health 



We thank the participants of this study for their valuable contributions. The assistance of Jussi Hannunen and Sanna Sintonen from Education technology services at Tampere University of Applied Sciences in the arrangements of the study is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards


The study was funded by the authors’ organizations. No external funding was received.

Conflict of interest

Dr. Kaipainen is the CEO of Headsted Ltd., which develops online interventions for mental health issues and maintains the web version of the Oiva app examined in this study. At the time of the study, she was employed at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Dr. Välkkynen was employed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland at the time of the study. He is employed currently by Vincit Oy, a software company in Finland. Dr. Välkkynen and Dr. Kilkku declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics statement

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Headsted LtdTampereFinland
  2. 2.Vincit OyTampereFinland
  3. 3.Tampere University of Applied SciencesTampereFinland

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