Research shows app aids reduction of depressive symptoms amongst university students

Results of a mobile application for mental health intervention indicated that it effectively reduces depressive symptoms in Chinese university students in the short term and improves for psychological well-being in the long term.

The study was done collaboratively by the University of Macau (UM) and New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai). They recently announced their research findings, which was initially a randomized controlled trial of ‘Step-by-Step’ (SbS) conducted on UM students.

Before the trial, the research team conducted interviews with focus groups to enhance the elements of SbS, such as stories, visuals, and language, and made necessary adaptations to suit the Chinese context. A feasibility study was then carried out to gather feedback and ensure the smooth implementation of the subsequent large-scale randomized controlled trial. The trial lasted for one year and involved a total of 371 participants.

The intervention process lasted eight weeks, with weekly assessments of its effectiveness. Post-intervention assessments and follow-up interviews were conducted at the end of the intervention and then again three months later.

The study data reveals that participants rated the intervention’s effectiveness in reducing stress at seven out of ten. The majority of participants expressed that the content and presentation of SbS exceeded their expectations. Over half of the participants reported acquiring new knowledge and skills in managing emotions, making plans, and overcoming negative emotions.

The study provides empirical evidence supporting SbS as an evidence-based mental health intervention, highlighting its potential to improve the mental well-being of Chinese university students and its applicability in broader clinical settings. The research findings were also published in the medical journal Translational Psychiatry. Staff Reporter

Categories Headlines Macau