A Review of Free iPhone Applications Designed to Target Anxiety and Worry

  • Sarah J. Kertz
  • J. MacLaren Kelly
  • Kimberly T. Stevens
  • Matthew Schrock
  • Sara B. Danitz


The purpose of the present study was to review the degree to which current iPhone apps targeting symptoms of worry and anxiety incorporate content consistent with evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions for anxiety and worry. Searches for content-relevant iPhone apps for anxiety and worry were conducted in April 2015 and subsequently coded based on evidence-based treatment components for generalized anxiety (N = 361). Most freely available iPhone apps marketed toward decreasing symptoms of anxiety or worry were largely inconsistent with evidence-based treatments. More than half of apps (n = 269) failed to contain any content from cognitive-behavioral therapies. Only 46 (13%) apps were rated as “Consistent”; 87% of apps were rated as “Not Consistent” (n = 280) or “Partially Consistent” (n = 35). Furthermore, the most popular apps for anxiety as indexed by user ratings (n = 25) failed to include any content consistent with evidence-based treatments. Overall, if a user were to select a freely available iPhone app for anxiety management, the odds of selecting an app consistent with evidence-based treatments are very low. Implications and future directions are discussed. A list of CBT-consistent apps is included.


Mobile apps Generalized anxiety disorder Worry mHealth Cognitive behavioral 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah J. Kertz
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. MacLaren Kelly
    • 1
  • Kimberly T. Stevens
    • 1
  • Matthew Schrock
    • 2
  • Sara B. Danitz
    • 3
  1. 1.Southern Illinois UniversitySouthern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.McLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  3. 3.Suffolk UniversityBostonUSA

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