Use of smartphones, mobile apps and wearables for health promotion by people with anxiety or depression: An analysis of a nationally representative survey data

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People with mental illness have increased cardiovascular risk factors, which contributes significantly to mortality in this population. Digital interventions have emerged as promising models to promote physical health, although their potential for use in mental health populations is relatively unexplored. We examined the potential for using digital tools for health promotion by people with common mental disorders like anxiety or depression. Using data from the 2019 edition of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5), we evaluated differences between individuals with self-reported history of diagnosed depression/anxiety and the general population with respect to ownership, usage, and perceived usefulness of digital tools for managing their health. Overall, individuals with anxiety or depression were as likely as the general population to use digital devices for their care. Those with anxiety or depression who had health apps were more likely to report intentions to lose weight than those without health apps. Significant sociodemographic predictors of digital tools usage included gender, age, income, and education level. People with anxiety or depression own and use digital health tools at similarly high rates to the general population, suggesting that these tools present a novel opportunity for health promotion among people with these disorders.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number114120
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date18 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021