Smartphone-based mental health apps effective for treating depression

A study, published in World Psychiatry, shows smartphone applications are a promising self-management tool for depression.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of smartphone apps for depressive symptoms. They identified 18 eligible randomized controlled trials of 22 smartphone apps via an electronic database search in May 2017. The trials includes outcome data from 3,414 participants.

The researchers found smartphone apps reduced depressive symptoms more significantly than control conditions. Smartphone-only interventions demonstrated greater effect than interventions which incorporated other human/computerized aspects along the smartphone component.

Cognitive training apps had a significantly smaller effect on depression outcomes than those of apps focusing on mental health.

"Future research should aim to distil which aspects of these technologies produce beneficial effects, and for which populations," concluded study authors.

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