Effectiveness of a Smartphone App (BioBase) for Reducing Anxiety and Increasing Mental Well-Being: Pilot Feasibility and Acceptability Study.
Kawadler JM., Hemmings NR., Ponzo S., Morelli D., Bird G., Plans D.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of workplace-related stress and anxiety is high, resulting in stress-related physical and mental illness. Digital self-guided interventions aimed at key areas of workplace design may be able to provide remote anxiolytic effects. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this feasibility study is to assess changes in anxiety and mental well-being after use of the BioBase programme, a mobile phone platform for psycho-educational modules, tools, and real-time feedback of physiological data. METHODS: A 4-week observational study was carried out in 55 healthy adults who were screened for stress with the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) Stress subscale. Participants completed anxiety (6-item State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI]) and mental well-being (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale [WEMWBS]) questionnaires at baseline and at 4 weeks. Feedback questionnaires were administered after 4 weeks. RESULTS: After 4 weeks of using the programme and controlling for any effect of being paid to take part in the study, STAI significantly decreased (baseline mean 45.52 [SD 13.2]; 4-week mean 39.82 [SD 11.2]; t54=-3.51; P<.001; CI -8.88 to -2.52; Cohen d=0.96) and WEMWBS significantly increased (baseline mean 48.12 [SD 6.4]; 4-week mean 50.4 [SD 6.9]; t53=2.41; P=.019; CI 0.44-4.23; Cohen d=0.66). Further, higher baseline stress was significantly associated with a greater decrease in STAI (t53=-3.41; P=.001; CI -8.10 to -2.10; R2=0.180) and a greater increase in WEMWBS (t52=2.41; P=.019; CI 0.38-4.11, R2=0.101). On feedback, participants found the programme easy to use/navigate, with the content being acceptable and relevant to workplace-related stressors; 70% (21/30) of participants would recommend the programme to a friend. CONCLUSIONS: The BioBase programme is a potentially effective intervention in decreasing anxiety and increasing mental well-being, with larger changes in those with higher baseline levels of stress.