A mobile application for panic disorder and agoraphobia: Insights from a multi-methods feasibility study

Lara Ebenfeld*, Stefan Kleine Stegemann, Dirk Lehr, David Daniel Ebert, Burkhardt Funk, Heleen Riper, Matthias Berking

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Panic disorder with and without agoraphobia (PD) is a common psychological disorder. Internet-based interventions have the potential to offer highly scalable low-threshold evidence-based care to people suffering from PD. GET.ON Panic is a newly developed internet-based intervention addressing symptoms of PD. In order to transfer the training into the daily life of the individuals, we integrated mobile components in the training and created a so-called hybrid online training. The development and beta-testing of such a training requires a novel interdisciplinary approach between IT specialists and psychologists. From this point of view, we would like to share our experiences in this exploratory paper. Methods: This initial feasibility study (N = 10) offers, on the one hand, a brief overview of the interdisciplinary development phase of the mobile application and on the other hand, provides first insights into the usage, usability and acceptance of this mobile application using qualitative interview data as well quantitative measures of 8 completing participants. For these reasons, we used a pre-posttest design without a control group. Furthermore, we present initial clinical outcomes of the intervention on e.g. panic symptom severity, depressive symptoms as well additional anxiety measures. Finally, we end with implications for further research in the relatively new field of mobile mental health. Results: Overall, usability, user satisfaction, motivational value and technology acceptance of the app were perceived as high. The usage of app components was diverse: The use of interoceptive exposure exercises and daily summaries on anxiety and mood was highest while using in-vivo exposure exercises and monitoring panic symptoms was perceived as difficult. Furthermore, participants showed after the training less clinical symptoms as at baseline-assessment. Discussion: The current feasibility study contributes to an in-depth understanding of the potential of mobile technology in e-mental health. Overall, the GET.ON Panic app appears to be an acceptable and motivational part of a CBT-based hybrid online training for PD that has the potential to promote training success. After some suggested adjustments have been made, the efficacy should be investigated in a randomized controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100296
JournalInternet Interventions
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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