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Challenger - the Development and Initial Evaluation of a Smartphone Application for Social Anxiety Disorder
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2014 (English)In: Abstracts from the 8th Medicine 2.0 Summit & World Congress, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Randomized controlled trials have yielded promising results for internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy (iCBT) for patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Smartphone assisted treatment is potentially cost effective and could also bring the treatment closer to the patient’s real life environment than desktop application delivered iCBT.

The newly developed smartphone application “Challenger” is generating exercises that are customized to the user’s environment, involving places and people in their vicinity. Based on what skills the user wants to improve, appropriate challenges are randomly selected and created by the app. The user can follow their progress and history on a board game, where they move forward for each challenge they complete. They can also fill their own board with rewards that they find appealing and motivating. After a challenge completion, the user is prompted to write a note reflecting on the experience and to report their anxiety level during the challenge. If the user so chooses, the note can then be sent anonymously, much like a message in a bottle, to another randomly selected user to provide supportive feedback. That feedback is sent back to the challangee which can then choose to “like”, be indifferent to, or dislike (report abuse) the feedback.In summary, “Challenger” generates customized behavioral experiments, as well as exposure exercises that are performed in the patients vicinity and provides the means to reflect on the experience and to receive anonymous social community support.

Objective: The present study aims to evaluate the feasibility and acceptance of the newly developed smartphone application “Challenger” for treating social anxiety disorder (SAD) and to report on the preliminary data regarding how the anonymous social community support function is being used. It also aims to assess significant changes in the self-reported social anxiety symptoms and ecological momentary assessments over time.

Methods: A set of valid and commonly used questionnaires were used in the study. Level of social anxiety symptoms was assessed using MINI-SPIN every other day. In addition, once a week PHQ9 and GAD7 were administered in the smartphone application in order to get a general level of depression and anxiety respectively.

Result: At the present date 92 participants have enrolled in the treatment program. The MINI-SPIN scores (M=6.75, SD=3.62) indicate that this is a sample of participants with primarily social anxiety problems. The PHQ9 (n=85, M=3.38, SD=2.43) and GAD-7 (n=84, M=4.07, SD=2.60) scores suggests that the group is well-functioning with low levels of depression and general anxiety. Concerning the social feedback system we can report that 62% (n=161) of the notes being sent have been liked. About 10% has received the opinion “indifferent”, while 13% were given feedback but not yet rated. 15% was not given feedback yet and 0 comments has been reported as abusive.

Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate that using Challenger could decrease social anxiety and depressive symptoms, but data collection is still at an early stage and we will know much more at the time of the conference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Challenger, smartphone, SAD
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113151OAI: diva2:783161
8th Medicine 2.0 Summit & World Congress, 13-14 November, 2014. Maui, Hawaii, USA.

Se även: URI: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113110 med samma titel.

Available from: 2015-01-23 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2016-03-04Bibliographically approved

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