Tracking Post-trauma Psychopathology Using Mobile Applications: a Usability Study

  • Matthew PriceEmail author
  • Katherine van Stolk-Cooke
  • Hannah L. Ward
  • Michael O’Keefe
  • Jennifer Gratton
  • Christian Skalka
  • Kalev Freeman


Trauma exposure markedly increases risk for psychopathology including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Understanding the course by which PTSD develops after a traumatic event is critical to enhancing early intervention. Although prior work has explored the course of PTSD symptoms in the subsequent months, relatively few studies have explored the course of symptoms in the acute posttrauma period, defined as the 30 days after a traumatic event. A key challenge to conducting such studies is the lack of efficient means to collect data that does not impose significant burden on the participant during this time. The present study evaluated the use of a mobile phone application to collect symptom data during the acute posttrauma period. Data was obtained from 23 individuals who experienced a criterion A traumatic event and were recruited from the emergency department of a level-1 trauma center. Participants completed 44.93% of daily assessments across a 30-day period. Responses rates were uncorrelated with PTSD symptoms or depression symptoms at 1- and 3-month posttrauma. Participants reported that the surveys were moderately helpful and posed minimal burden. These findings suggest that mobile applications can be used to learn about the course of posttrauma recovery.


PTSD Trauma Technology Mhealth Mobile application 



This study was supported by a REACH grant award from the University of Vermont REACH Grant Program that was awarded to Matthew Price, Christian Skalka, and Kalev Freeman. Matthew Price and Katherine van Stolk-Cooke were supported by 1K08MH107661-01A1 (PI: Price).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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