Is a Self-Monitoring App for Depression a Good Place for Additional Mental Health Information? Ecological Momentary Assessment of Mental Help Information Seeking among Smartphone Users Academic Article uri icon


  • Mobile devices and apps offer promising opportunities for both patients and healthcare professionals, for example, to monitor and assess health status, and also to provide relevant health information. However, health information seeking within a mood-tracking app has not yet been addressed by research. To bridge this gap, the depression-related health information seeking of 6,675 users of a mood-tracking smartphone app was unobtrusively monitored. The study shows that self-monitored depressive symptoms are associated with higher depression-related information seeking within the app. Health information seeking was low in general, with differences across 12 depression-related topics (e.g., depressive thoughts, a depression diagnosis, or depression facts), but the findings are also promising as the smartphone app was shown to be a place where users can inform themselves about health topics related to the main purpose of the app. Smartphone apps would therefore seem to be a vehicle through which to provide additional health information about, for example, comorbidities, or pre- or post-interventions, even going beyond the original purposes of such mobile health (mHealth) monitoring apps.

author list (cited authors)

  • Scherr, S., & Goering, M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM