Nicolaidou I, Aristeidis L, Lambrinos L. A gamified app for supporting undergraduate students’ mental health: A feasibility and usability study. Digit Health. 2022;8:20552076221109059. Published 2022 Jun 21. doi:10.1177/20552076221109059
This study aimed to address the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on undergraduate students by designing and testing feasibility, acceptability, and usability of Student Stress Resilience, a gamified mobile app that provides personalized data and focuses on enhancing students’ resilience. The app design is based on a theory of nine behavioral change techniques: action planning, feedback on outcomes, self-monitoring of behavior, social support, social comparison, prompts/cues, achievements, and incentives. The app includes a daily goal setting component for studying, exercising, or socializing. The app also tracks progress by using data from the smartphone accelerometer and sound sensor and from self-reported anxiety measurements and reflection on performance. App users receive points and badges for completing challenges. Social interaction is facilitated by allowing users to share their progress with others and the inclusion of a leaderboard. Adult undergraduate students (N=74) evaluated the prototype for Student Stress Resilience and completed an online survey on feasibility for supporting resilience and usability. Overall, participants gave positive feedback (3.76 out of 5 rating, on average) on all app functions for improving psychological resilience. Usability was satisfactory and 93% said they would be interested in continuing to use the app once it is fully developed. Student Stress Resilience is a promising mobile app to support mental health for the general student non-clinical population. Following the development of a fully functioning app, future research should evaluate Student Stress Resilience in a randomized controlled trial.