Users’ adoption of mental health apps: Examining the impact of information cues.


Huang H-Y, Bashir M. (2017). Users’ adoption of mental health apps: Examining the impact of information cues. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 5(6): e83. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.6827

Researchers examined cues that consumers use when browsing apps for anxiety disorders to inform their decisions to choose which apps they download. Researchers searched the Google Play marketplace using keywords derived from clinical definitions of anxiety disorders and from definitions obtained online, using “anxiety”, “fear”, “anxious”, and “worry” as their final search terms. Researchers recorded the price, average user rating, number of user reviews, number of downloads, categorization, number of requested permissions, and title content of each app in the search results. The position of each app in search results was also recorded, but varied by user, suggesting the algorithm that determines the order of search results is personalized. App titles relating to anxiety disorders (10.6) and symptoms (5.5%) were related to fewer downloads, but app titles related to mindfulness activities (12%) were related to more downloads. The number of permissions requested by an app and the numbers of user ratings and reviews were significantly positively related to its number of downloads. Increasing app price predicted a decreasing number of downloads, but the rate of change of downloads becomes smaller as price increases. Increase in app user rating predicted a greater number of downloads until the rating exceeds 4.4 (out of 5), when the number of downloads decreases. Increasing number of user reviews predicted increasing numbers of downloads up to 50,000 reviews and after 100,000 reviews, but predicted decreasing numbers of downloads between 50,000 and 100,000 reviews.