Developing a personalised virtual coach 'Denk je zèlf!' For emotional eaters through the design of emotion-enriched personas
Number of pages
SourceInternational Journal on Advances in Life Sciences, 8, 3-4, (2016), pp. 233-242
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Obesity is a fast-growing societal threat, causing chronic conditions, physical and psychological health problems, as well as sickness absence and heavy healthcare costs. Despite numerous attempts to promote physical activity and healthy diet, existing interventions do not focus on the common emotional causes of obesity. There is a need for self-management support of this vulnerable target group: emotional eaters. This paper presents the results of the design case study focusing on a holistic design and evaluation of a personalised virtual mHealth coach that provides self-management training 'Denk je zèlf!' (Dutch for 'Develop a wise mind and counsel yourself'). The target group are young adults with an emotional eating disorder and who are obese. The contextual inquiry study was conducted to gain insights into the needs and experiences of the target users, including interviews and questionnaires with emotional eaters, patients undergoing obesity treatment, and healthcare practitioners. Personas and the use-case scenario were derived from these results and translated into the new 'Denk je zèlf!' virtual coach, based on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and experience sampling measures to capture user experience and emotional state. The main contributions of this paper are: (a) combining holistic eHealth design, behavior chain analysis, and dialectic behaviour therapy in one personalised virtual mHealth coaching application for emotional eaters; (b) applying emotionenriched Personas to guide the design; (c) the results of the initial user evaluation. Preliminary results suggest that the 'Denk je zèlf!' virtual coach is useful for helping the target group. Future research will be aimed at further iterative (re)design and evaluation, as well as development of the dialectical dialogues for the virtual coach and content for the education and instruction modules.
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