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Using a smartphone app to reduce cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms: Study protocol of an exploratory randomized controlled trial

Overview of attention for article published in Trials, December 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (54th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 tweeters


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Readers on

359 Mendeley
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Using a smartphone app to reduce cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms: Study protocol of an exploratory randomized controlled trial
Published in
Trials, December 2016
DOI 10.1186/s13063-016-1740-3
Pubmed ID

Cezar Giosan, Oana Cobeanu, Cristina Mogoaşe, Aurora Szentágotai Tătar, Vlad Mureşan, Rareș Boian


Depression is a major challenge worldwide, with significant increasing personal, economic, and societal costs. Although empirically supported treatments have been developed, they are not always available for patients in routine clinical care. Therefore, we need effective and widely accessible strategies to prevent the onset of the very first depressive symptoms. Mental health apps could prove a valuable solution for this desideratum. Although preliminary research has indicated that such apps can be useful in treating depression, no study has attempted to test their utility in preventing depressive symptoms. The aim of this exploratory study is to contrast the efficacy of a smartphone app in reducing cognitive vulnerability and mild depressive symptoms, as risk factors for the onset of depression, against a wait-list condition. More specifically, we aim to test an app designed to (1) decrease general cognitive vulnerability and (2) promote engagement in protective, adaptive activities, while (3) counteracting (through gamification and customization) the tendency of premature dropout from intervention. Romanian-speaking adults (18 years and older) with access to a computer and the Internet and who own a smartphone are included in the study. Two parallel randomized clinical trials are conducted: in the first one, 50 participants free of depressive symptoms (i.e., who obtain scores ≤4 on the Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9) will be included, while in the second one 50 participants with minimal depressive symptoms (i.e., who obtain PHQ-9 scores between 5 and 9) will be included. Participants undergoing therapy, presenting with substance abuse problems, psychotic symptoms, and organic brain disorders, or serious legal or health issues that would prevent them from using the app, as well as participants reporting suicidal ideation are excluded. Participants randomized to the active intervention will autonomously use the smartphone app for 4 weeks, while the others will be given access to the app after 4 weeks from randomization. The primary outcomes are (1) cognitive vulnerability factors as defined within the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) paradigm (i.e., dysfunctional cognitions, irrational beliefs, and negative automatic thoughts) (for the first trial), and (2) level of depressive symptomatology (for the second trial). The app includes self-help materials and exercises based on CBT for depression, presented in a tailored manner and incorporating gamification elements aimed at boosting motivation to use the app. This study protocol is the first to capitalize on the ubiquity of smartphones to large-scale dissemination of CBT-based strategies aimed at preventing depression in non-clinical populations. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02783118 . Registered on 26 May 2016.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 2 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 359 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Finland 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Colombia 1 <1%
Unknown 356 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 63 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 55 15%
Researcher 47 13%
Student > Bachelor 43 12%
Student > Doctoral Student 23 6%
Other 67 19%
Unknown 61 17%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 85 24%
Medicine and Dentistry 54 15%
Nursing and Health Professions 36 10%
Computer Science 23 6%
Social Sciences 23 6%
Other 60 17%
Unknown 78 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 March 2017.
All research outputs
of 15,909,697 outputs
Outputs from Trials
of 4,204 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 356,748 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Trials
of 4 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,909,697 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 43rd percentile – i.e., 43% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 4,204 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 7.7. This one is in the 42nd percentile – i.e., 42% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 356,748 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 54% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 4 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them