A Qualitative Needs Assessment and Analysis of Perceptions of a Mobile Health App for Low-Income, At-Risk Mothers


This study examined the feasibility of using a mobile app to communicate mental health, parenting, and nutrition information to low-income mothers. Using focus group discussions, four sessions were conducted with an average of 8 participants in each session to gather their perceived health information needs, iterative feedback about the app design, usability, and relevance of messages and information shared via the app. Participants were recruited from low-income serving programs. Our results demonstrated the unique needs and concerns of low-income mothers, such as concerns regarding lack of social support as well as knowledge and skill deficits (e.g., parenting, nutrition). To address these key needs expressed, an app was developed with such components as a forum for parent interaction as well as health information and community resources. After 1-week trial of the app, an evaluation of participating women revealed that they found the content focused on local accessible resources and the discussion platform for interacting with other parents to be the most helpful. Further, the option for searchable content to address immediate questions or concerns was also emphasized. A mobile app could potentially provide social support as well as answers to common concerns that could ultimately be effective in minimizing stress for families and improving maternal and child health.

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We would like to thank our participants for their time and feedback and our community partners for their assistance. We are also grateful to project research staff, Shine DeHarder and Kassidy Colton, for their support and assistance with this research.


Research reported in this publication was supported by a Rochester’s Child - Rochester Area Community Foundation Grant (20183010). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

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Correspondence to Stephanie Godleski.

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The research complies with ethical standards and ethical approval of the procedures was granted for the Rochester Institute of Technology Institutional Review Board.

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Godleski, S., Abu, B.A. & Kothari, A. A Qualitative Needs Assessment and Analysis of Perceptions of a Mobile Health App for Low-Income, At-Risk Mothers. J. technol. behav. sci. 6, 100–105 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-020-00151-w

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  • Mobile health
  • Parenting
  • Nutrition
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Low-income families