Exploring the experiences and perspectives of using mental health apps

Nasiri, Faromarz and Smith, Ian and Sturdee, Miriam (2023) Exploring the experiences and perspectives of using mental health apps. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis presents three papers relating to the qualitative exploration of using mental health smartphone applications (MH apps) through the perspectives of 1) young people, 2) people living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and 3) a critical appraisal of the research study. Section one presents a literature review of 12 qualitative research papers exploring the experiences and perspectives of young people who have used MH apps. These were analysed through a thematic synthesis approach and three themes were developed: 1) Readily available bite-sized support; 2) Reclaiming agency; 3) Normalisation through connection and anonymity. The findings highlight the perceived value of MH apps in enhancing autonomy for young people and acting as a gateway to mental health support by reducing internal and systemic barriers to mental health support. Section two presents a research study exploring the perspectives and experiences of using MH apps by eight people living with OCD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant, and the data was analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Three themes were developed: 1) Finding a way into OCD support; 2) The value of human guidance; and 3) The quandary of connections. Participants described the value of using MH apps to overcome barriers to support, as a way of increasing guided support to engage with challenging OCD outside of therapy and becoming connected to the OCD community. Section three presents a critical appraisal of the research study. The author has reflected upon the research study and literature review findings, exploring areas of commonality and difference. Furthermore, strengths and limitations of the research study are explored, as well as clinical implications and areas of future research, reasons for conducting the study and reflexivity.

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Thesis (PhD)
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12 Sep 2023 15:10
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:05