Publications by authors named "Ann-Marie Küchler"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Quality of Physical Activity Apps: Systematic Search in App Stores and Content Analysis.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2021 Jun 9;9(6):e22587. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Background: Physical inactivity is a major contributor to the development and persistence of chronic diseases. Mobile health apps that foster physical activity have the potential to assist in behavior change. However, the quality of the mobile health apps available in app stores is hard to assess for making informed decisions by end users and health care providers.

Objective: This study aimed at systematically reviewing and analyzing the content and quality of physical activity apps available in the 2 major app stores (Google Play and App Store) by using the German version of the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS-G). Moreover, the privacy and security measures were assessed.

Methods: A web crawler was used to systematically search for apps promoting physical activity in the Google Play store and App Store. Two independent raters used the MARS-G to assess app quality. Further, app characteristics, content and functions, and privacy and security measures were assessed. The correlation between user star ratings and MARS was calculated. Exploratory regression analysis was conducted to determine relevant predictors for the overall quality of physical activity apps.

Results: Of the 2231 identified apps, 312 met the inclusion criteria. The results indicated that the overall quality was moderate (mean 3.60 [SD 0.59], range 1-4.75). The scores of the subscales, that is, information (mean 3.24 [SD 0.56], range 1.17-4.4), engagement (mean 3.19 [SD 0.82], range 1.2-5), aesthetics (mean 3.65 [SD 0.79], range 1-5), and functionality (mean 4.35 [SD 0.58], range 1.88-5) were obtained. An efficacy study could not be identified for any of the included apps. The features of data security and privacy were mainly not applied. Average user ratings showed significant small correlations with the MARS ratings (r=0.22, 95% CI 0.08-0.35; P<.001). The amount of content and number of functions were predictive of the overall quality of these physical activity apps, whereas app store and price were not.

Conclusions: Apps for physical activity showed a broad range of quality ratings, with moderate overall quality ratings. Given the present privacy, security, and evidence concerns inherent to most rated apps, their medical use is questionable. There is a need for open-source databases of expert quality ratings to foster informed health care decisions by users and health care providers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/22587DOI Listing
June 2021

Study protocol of a randomised controlled trial on SISU, a software agent providing a brief self-help intervention for adults with low psychological well-being.

BMJ Open 2021 02 8;11(2):e041573. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Introduction: Only a minority of people living with mental health problems are getting professional help. As digitalisation moves on, the possibility of providing internet/mobile-based interventions (IMIs) arises. One type of IMIs are fully automated conversational software agents (chatbots). Software agents are computer programs that can hold conversations with a human by mimicking a human conversational style. Software agents could deliver low-threshold and cost-effective interventions aiming at promoting psychological well-being in a large number of individuals. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and acceptance of the brief software agent-based IMI SISU in comparison with a waitlist control group.

Methods And Analysis: Within a two-group randomised controlled trial, a total of 120 adult participants living with low well-being (Well-being Scale/WHO-5) will be recruited in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. SISU is based on therapeutic writing and acceptance and commitment therapy-based principles. The brief intervention consists of three modules. Participants work through the intervention on 3 consecutive days. Assessment takes place before (t1), during (t2) and after (t3) the interaction with SISU, as well as 4 weeks after randomisation (t4). Primary outcome is psychological well-being (WHO-5). Secondary outcomes are emotional well-being (Flourishing Scale), psychological flexibility (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II), quality of life (Assessment of Quality of Life -8D), satisfaction with the intervention (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire-8) and side effects (Inventory for the assessment of negative effectsof psychotherapy). Examined mediators and moderators are sociodemographic variables, personality (Big Five Inventory-10), emotion regulation (Emotion Regulation Questionnaire), alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20), centrality of events (Centrality of Events Scale), treatment expectancies (Credibility Expectancy Questionnaire) and technology alliance (Inventory of Technology Alliance-Online Therapy). Data analysis will be based on intention-to-treat principles. SISU guides participants through a 3-day intervention.

Ethics And Dissemination: This trial has been approved by the ethics committee of the Ulm University (No. 448/18, 18.02.2019). Results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at conferences.

Trial Registration: The trial is registered at the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform via the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS): DRKS00016799 (date of registration: 25 April 2019). In case of important protocol modifications, trial registration will be updated. This is protocol version number 1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871683PMC
February 2021

StudiCare mindfulness-study protocol of a randomized controlled trial evaluating an internet- and mobile-based intervention for college students with no and "on demand" guidance.

Trials 2020 Nov 26;21(1):975. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute for Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081, Ulm, Germany.

Background: College is an exciting but also challenging time with an increased risk for mental health issues. Only a minority of the college students concerned get professional help, a problem that might be improvable by internet- and mobile-based interventions (IMIs). However, adherence of IMIs is a concern. While guidance might be a solution, it is resource-intensive, derailing potential implementation on population level. The first aim of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy of the IMI StudiCare Mindfulness (StudiCare-M) for college students with "on demand" and no guidance. The second aim is to examine potential moderators and mediators, contributing to the questions of "how" and "for whom" such interventions work.

Methods: In this three-armed randomized controlled trial, both an unguided and "guidance on demand" (GoD) condition of StudiCare-M are compared to a waitlist control group. StudiCare-M is based on principles of acceptance and commitment therapy and stress management and consists of 7 modules plus two booster sessions. Participants in the GoD condition may ask their e-coach for support whenever needed. A total of 387 college students with moderate to low mindfulness are recruited at 15+ cooperating universities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland via circular emails. Assessments take place before as well as 1, 2, and 6 months after randomization. The primary outcome is mindfulness. Secondary outcomes include stress, depression, anxiety, interoception, presenteeism, wellbeing, intervention satisfaction, adherence, and potential side effects. Among examined moderators and mediators are sociodemographic variables, pre-treatment symptomatology, treatment expectancy, self-efficacy, cognitive fusion, emotion regulation, and alexithymia. All data will be analyzed according to intention-to-treat (ITT) principles.

Discussion: Providing effective interventions to help college students become more resilient can make a valuable contribution to the health and functionality of future society. If effective under the condition of minimal or no guidance, StudiCare-M offers a low-threshold potentially resource-efficient possibility to enhance college student mental health on a population level. Moderation- and mediation analyses will deliver further insights for optimization of target groups and intervention content.

Trial Registration: WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform via the German Clinical Studies Trial Register DRKS00014774 . Registered on 18 May 2018.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04868-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7691111PMC
November 2020

Digital interventions in adult mental healthcare settings: recent evidence and future directions.

Curr Opin Psychiatry 2020 07;33(4):422-431

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.

Purpose Of Review: Internet and mobile-based interventions (IMI) can be used as online delivered forms of psychotherapeutic mental health treatments. These interventions can be an effective as well as time and cost-efficient treatment with the potential to scale up mental healthcare. In this review, we map implementation possibilities into routine mental healthcare settings and provide the most recent evidence.

Recent Findings: Fourteen articles on digital mental healthcare approaches published in the last 18 months were included. Despite the limited number, the studies provide evidence for the effectiveness of IMI in treating inpatients and outpatients with various disorders in different mental healthcare settings. IMI were investigated as stand-alone interventions, in combination with other treatment forms (blended-care), or as aftercare.

Summary: Although there is encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of IMI in mental healthcare settings, several limitations have to be considered. The small number of studies conducted within the healthcare system, especially with inpatient samples, calls for more collaboration between researchers and clinical practitioners to unravel barriers and develop efficient protocols for the integration into routine care. Nonetheless, IMI are a promising tool for the endeavour of closing the treatment gap and should, therefore, be further explored in varying settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0000000000000614DOI Listing
July 2020

Effectiveness of a guided online mindfulness-focused intervention in a student population: Study protocol for a randomised control trial.

BMJ Open 2020 03 24;10(3):e032775. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, Ulm University, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Background: Previous studies show that university students experience higher psychological stress than the general population, resulting in increased vulnerability for mental disorders for the student population. Online mindfulness interventions will be delivered to students as a potentially promising and more flexible approach compared to face-to-face interventions with the aim of improving their mental health. This study purposes to investigate the effectiveness of a guided online mindfulness-focused intervention for university students by using both self-reported and psychobiological measures.

Methods And Analyses: In this multicentre, two-armed randomised controlled trial with a parallel design, a guided version of the online mindfulness-focused intervention 'StudiCare Mindfulness' will be compared with a waitlist control group. In total, 120 participants will be recruited at different universities (of Applied Sciences) in (Neu-) Ulm. Data will be assessed prior to randomisation, after eight weeks (post-intervention) and six months after randomisation (follow-up). The primary outcome measure is mindfulness. The secondary outcome measures include depression, anxiety and stress levels, well-being, interoceptive sensibility, emotion regulation and alexithymia. Psychobiological parameters comprise interoceptive accuracy, hair cortisol and FKBP5 genotype. Sociodemographic variables, treatment expectations, side and adverse side effects, as well as intervention satisfaction and adherence will be assessed. All data analyses will be conducted according to the intention-to-treat principle.

Ethics And Dissemination: All study procedures have been approved by the Ethics Committee of Ulm University (application No. 48/18). The findings will be disseminated widely through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Trial Registration Number: DRKS00014701.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032775DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202707PMC
March 2020

Effectiveness of an internet-based intervention for procrastination in college students (StudiCare Procrastination): Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial.

Internet Interv 2019 Sep 26;17:100245. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Ulm University, Department of Clinical Psychology und Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm, Germany.

Background: Procrastination, defined as irrational and voluntary delaying of necessary tasks, is widespread and clinically relevant. Its high prevalence among college students comes with serious consequences for mental health and well-being of those affected. Research for proper treatment is still relatively scarce and treatment of choice seems to be cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of an internet- and mobile-based intervention (IMI) for procrastination based on CBT for college students.

Methods: A two-armed randomized controlled trial with a calculated sample size of  = 120 participants with problematic procrastination behavior will be conducted. Students will be recruited in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via circular emails at 15+ cooperating universities in the framework of StudiCare, a well-established project that provides IMIs to college students for different health related issues. The intervention group will receive the e-coach guided 5-week IMI StudiCare Procrastination. A waitlist-control group will get access to the unguided IMI 12 weeks after randomization. Assessments will take place before as well as 6 and 12 weeks after randomization. Primary outcome is procrastination, measured by the Irrational Procrastination Scale (IPS). Secondary outcomes include susceptibility to temptation, depression, anxiety, wellbeing and self-efficacy as well as acceptability aspects such as intervention satisfaction, adherence and potential side effects. Additionally, several potential moderators as well as the potential mediators self-efficacy and susceptibility to temptation will be examined exploratorily. Data-analysis will be performed on intention-to-treat basis.

Discussion: This study will contribute to the evidence concerning effectiveness and acceptability of an intervention for procrastination delivered via the internet. If it shows to be effective, StudiCare Procrastination could provide a low-threshold, cost-efficient way to help the multitude of students suffering from problems caused by procrastination.: The trial is registered at the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform via the German Clinical Studies Trial Register (DRKS): DRKS00014321 (date of registration: 06.04.2018). In case of important protocol modifications, trial registration will be updated.: This is protocol version number 1, 11th December 2019. Recruitment started 9th of April 2018 and was completed 30th of November 2018. Assessment and intervention are still ongoing and will be completed by April 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2019.100245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500923PMC
September 2019

Increasing intentions to use mental health services among university students. Results of a pilot randomized controlled trial within the World Health Organization's World Mental Health International College Student Initiative.

Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 2019 06 20;28(2):e1754. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Department for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Background: The majority of university students with mental health problems are untreated. Only a small empirical literature exists on strategies to increase mental health service use.

Aims: To investigate the effects and moderators of a brief acceptance-facilitating intervention on intention to use mental health services among university students.

Method: Within the German site of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health International College Student (WMH-ICS) initiative, 1,374 university students were randomized to an intervention condition (IC; n = 664) or a control condition (CC; n = 710) that was implemented in the survey itself. Both conditions received the questions assessing mental disorders and suicidality that were included in other WMH-ICS surveys. The IC group then additionally received: Internet-based personalized feedback based on subject symptom severity in the domains of depression, anxiety, substance use, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and nonsuicidal self-injury; psychoeducation tailored to the personal symptom profile; and information about available university and community mental health services. The primary outcome was reported intention to use psychological interventions in the next semester, which was the last question in the survey. A broad range of potential moderating factors was explored.

Results: There was a significant main effect of the intervention with students randomized to IC, reporting significantly higher intentions to seek help in the next semester than students in the CC condition (d = 0.12, 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.23). Moderator analyses indicated that the intervention was more effective among students that fulfilled the criteria for lifetime (d = 0.34; 95% CI: -0.08 to 0.7) and 12-month panic-disorder (d = 0.32; 95% CI: -0.10 to 0.74) compared with those without lifetime (d = 0.11; 95% CI: 0.00 to 0.22) or 12-month panic disorder (d = 0.11; 95% CI: 0.00 to 0.22), students with lower (d = 0.37; 95% CI: -0.77 to 1.51) than higher (d = -0.01; 95% CI: -0.36 to 0.34) self-reported physical health, and students with nonheterosexual (d = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.08 to 0.67) compared with heterosexual (d = 0.06; 95% CI: -0.06 to 0.17) sexual orientation. The intervention had no effects among students who reported that they recognized that they had an emotional problem and "are already working actively to change it" (Stage 4 "stages of change").

Conclusions: A simple acceptance-facilitating intervention can increase intention to use mental health services, although effects, are on average, small. Future studies should investigate more personalized approaches with interventions tailored to barriers and clinical characteristics of students. In order to optimize intervention effects, the development and evaluation should be realized in designs that are powered to allow incremental value of different intervention components and tailoring strategies to be evaluated, such as in multiphase optimization designs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1754DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6877244PMC
June 2019