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Using mobile phones to examine and enhance perceptions of control in mildly depressed and nondepressed volunteers: intervention study

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Show simple item record Msetfi, Rachel M. O'Sullivan, Donal Walsh, Amy Nelson, John van de Ven, Pepijn 2018-11-28T09:32:01Z 2018-11-28T09:32:01Z 2018
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Abstract Background: Perceived control is strongly linked to healthy outcomes, mental healthiness, and psychological well-being. This is particularly important when people have little control over things that are happening to them. Perceived control studies have been performed extensively in laboratory settings and show that perceived control can be increased by experimental manipulations. Although these studies suggest that it may be possible to improve people’s mental health by increasing their perceived control, there is very little evidence to date to suggest that perceived control can also be influenced in the real world. Objective: The first aim of this study was to test for evidence of a link between noncontrol situations and psychological well-being in the real world using a mobile phone app. The second and arguably more important aim of the study was to test whether a simple instructional intervention on the nature of alternative causes would enhance people’s perceptions of their own control in these noncontrol situations. Methods: We implemented a behavioral action-outcome contingency judgment task using a mobile phone app. An opportunity sample of 106 healthy volunteers scoring low (n=56, no depression) or high (n=50, mild depression) on a depression scale participated. They were given no control over the occurrence of a low- or high-frequency stimulus that was embedded in everyday phone interactions during a typical day lasting 8 hours. The intervention involved instructions that either described a consistent alternative cause against which to assess their own control, or dynamic alternative causes of the outcome. Throughout the day, participants rated their own control over the stimulus using a quantitative judgment scale. Results: Participants with no evidence of depression overestimated their control, whereas those who were most depressed were more accurate in their control ratings. Instructions given to all participants about the nature of alternative causes significantly affected the pattern of perceived control ratings. Instructions describing discrete alternative causes enhanced perceived control for all participants, whereas dynamic alternative causes were linked to less perceived control. Conclusions: Perceptions of external causes are important to perceived control and can be used to enhance people’s perceptions. Theoretically motivated interventions can be used to enhance perceived control using mobile phone apps. This is the first study to do so in a real-world setting. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher JMIR Publications en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries JMIR mHealth and uHealth;6 (11), e10114
dc.subject perception of control en_US
dc.subject illusory control en_US
dc.subject well-being en_US
dc.subject depression en_US
dc.subject health en_US
dc.subject intervention en_US
dc.subject causal learning en_US
dc.title Using mobile phones to examine and enhance perceptions of control in mildly depressed and nondepressed volunteers: intervention study en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.2196/10114
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US
dc.internal.rssid 2864382

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