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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Devon Ruhde for her supportive assistance with the project. We would also like to thank Corey Zadik for his assistance collecting app attribute data.

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Correspondence to Sarah J. Kertz.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 4 EST consistent apps and indicators of presence or absence of each of the nine content categories

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Kertz, S.J., MacLaren Kelly, J., Stevens, K.T. et al. A Review of Free iPhone Applications Designed to Target Anxiety and Worry. J. technol. behav. sci. 2, 61–70 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-016-0006-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-016-0006-y

Keywords

  • Mobile apps
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Worry
  • mHealth
  • Cognitive behavioral