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Attitudes Towards Digital Mental Health Among Individuals With Unmet Mental Health Needs


Unmet mental health needs have a negative impact and digital mental health interventions (DMHIs) offer a low-cost accessible way to receive care. Despite potential benefits, engagement with these strategies outside of research settings remains limited. Investigating the perspectives of persons with unmet mental health needs may offer insight into addressing this gap in care, particularly following changes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current study investigated experiences with DMHIs, attitudes towards these strategies, and their impact on intentions to use such approaches among 296 individuals with unmet mental health needs. Only a small proportion of participants were using DMHIs (11.1%), although a larger part of the sample had done so in the past (37.5%). Participants endorsed greater comfort with DMHI functionalities they have more control over, such as tracking symptoms and habits and less comfort with those that were more intrusive, such as monitoring location or social media use. Higher educational attainment (β = 0.14, p = 0.01), greater perceived behavioral control (β = 0.18, p = 0.002), and more positive attitudes towards DMHIs (β = 0.39, p < 0.001) were predictive of intentions to use these tools. Intentions to use DMHIs were higher among those who had past or present engagement (d = 0.55, p < 0.001) supporting a link between attitude and behavior. Implications of findings and considerations for future research are discussed.

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Data are available from authors upon reasonable request to support replication and open science efforts.


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This work was supported by the University of Texas at Tyler.

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Correspondence to Olga V. Berkout.

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This study was reviewed by the University of Texas at Tyler Institutional Review Board and was considered exempt (Protocol 2022–072).

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Berkout, O.V., Sunal, Z. Attitudes Towards Digital Mental Health Among Individuals With Unmet Mental Health Needs. J. technol. behav. sci. 8, 402–410 (2023).

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