Publications by authors named "Sarah Sturmbauer"

3 Publications

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

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2021 06 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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June 2021

The Stress and Adversity Inventory for Adults (Adult STRAIN) in German: An overview and initial validation.

PLoS One 2019 9;14(5):e0216419. Epub 2019 May 9.

Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States of America.

Life stress is a key determinant of poor mental and physical health, but until recently no instrument existed for efficiently assessing cumulative stress exposure and severity across the entire lifespan. The Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN) is an online, interview-based stress assessment system that was developed to address this need. We examined the concurrent, predictive, and discriminant validity of a German translation of the STRAIN by administering the instrument, along with several other measures of stress and health, to 298 adults (81 men, 217 women, Mage = 30.3 years). The German STRAIN demonstrated excellent concurrent validity, as evidenced by associations with other instruments assessing early adversity (|rs|≥.62, ps≤.001). It also correlated with instruments assessing recent life event exposure in adulthood (|rs|≥.48, ps≤.001), as well as recent perceived stress (|rs|≥ .25, ps≤.001) and recent chronic stress levels (|rs|≥ .19, ps≤.001). Additionally, the German STRAIN showed strong predictive validity in relation to anxiety symptoms (|rs|≥ .22, ps≤.001) and depressive symptoms (|rs|≥ .33, ps≤.001). Finally, the German STRAIN showed good discriminant validity, with lifetime stressor count being unrelated to personality features like neuroticism. These results demonstrate that the German version of the STRAIN is a valid tool for assessing lifetime stress exposure and severity. Additional research is needed to examine how the German STRAIN predicts psychological and biological stress reactivity and physical health outcomes.
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January 2020

Higher trait reappraisal predicts stronger HPA axis habituation to repeated stress.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2019 03 23;101:12-18. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Department of Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Undergoing stress can be advantageous when it leads to adaptation and growth; however, failure of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to habituate (i.e., nonhabituation) involves continuing to become highly activated in response to repeated exposure of the same stimulus and is considered maladaptive. Although 50-75% of individuals assessed in a laboratory exhibit adaptive habituation to repeated stress, variability in habituation suggests psychological processes used in response to stress may play a role, such as emotion regulation (ER). Nonetheless, no research to date has investigated whether ER strategies affect HPA axis habituation. We investigated whether tendency to use two ER strategies, reappraisal and suppression, influenced HPA axis habituation among 84 healthy young adults (60.7% female; M = 24.8 years, SD = 6.0) exposed to a standardized experimental stress paradigm on two consecutive days. HPA axis stress responses were assessed using salivary cortisol concentrations. We also examined whether non-manipulated state ER strategies (i.e., those used by the participant during and following the stressor on the first day) modulated HPA axis habituation over and above trait-use in a subsample (N = 60). Trait, but not state, reappraisal was associated with stronger HPA axis habituation. Neither trait nor state suppression were significantly associated with HPA axis habituation. These findings expand our current understanding of how ER can affect stress-related health outcomes and suggest habitual reappraisal plays an important role in adaption of the HPA axis to stress.
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March 2019