J Psychiatr Pract 2014 03;20(2):94-103
CARRAS, FURR-HOLDEN, and EATON: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; MOJTABAI and CULLEN: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Objective: Recent years have witnessed an expansion of Internet- and mobile-phone-based interventions for health promotion, yet few studies have focused on the use of technology by individuals with mental illness. This study examined the extent to which patients at an inner-city community psychiatry clinic had access to information and communications technology (ICT) and how they used those resources.
Methods: Patients of an outpatient, inner-city community psychiatry program (N=189) completed a survey that included questions about demographics and ICT use which were adapted from an existing local population-based health survey (community sample, N=968). Frequencies of ICT use were assessed for the clinic sample and questions common to both the surveys completed by the clinic and community samples were compared using logistic regression.
Results: Among clinic cases, 105 (55.6%) reported owning or using a computer, 162 (85.7%) reported owning or using a mobile phone, and 112 (59.3%) reportedf using the Internet. Among those who used mobile phones, the majority reported using them daily; 42% of those who used the Internet reported using it several times per day. Differences in frequency of Internet use between samples were not significant, but clinic participants used the Internet more intensively to email, instant message, access health information, and use social media sites.
Conclusions: A majority of patients in this community psychiatry clinic sample use ICT. Greater access to and use of the Internet by those with mental illness has important implications for the feasibility and impact of technology-based interventions.