Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mobile Phone App Intervention for Coping With Cancer as a Young Adult: Pilot Trial and Thematic Analysis
SourceJournal of Medical Internet Research, 23, 6, (2021), article e25069
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Medical Internet Research
SubjectRadboudumc 17: Women's cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Many young adult patients do not receive adequate psychosocial services to help them cope with cancer. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a smartphone app (iaya) intervention that was designed to create an engaged community of young adult patients and help them learn emotional coping skills. METHODS: For this single-group pilot trial, 25 young adult patients aged 18-39 years who were receiving active cancer treatment were asked to use the iaya app for 12 weeks. To collect app use data, we used Mixpanel, an analytics platform for apps. Feasibility was assessed through rates of app sessions and the number of coping exercises engaged, and intervention acceptability was evaluated by using an app usability questionnaire and through qualitative interviews at study completion. We collected patient-reported outcome data at baseline and at week 12 to explore self-efficacy for coping with cancer, self-efficacy for managing emotions, perceived emotional support, and quality of life. RESULTS: Baseline patient-reported outcome data indicated that participants scored relatively low on perceived emotional support but reasonably high on self-efficacy for coping with cancer and managing emotions as well as quality of life. Participants had a mean of 13 app sessions (SD 14) and 2 coping exercises (SD 3.83) in 12 weeks. Only 9% (2/23) of participants met our combined feasibility definition of ≥10 app sessions and ≥3 coping skills from different categories. The participants' mean usability score was 73.7% (SD 10.84), which exceeded our predefined threshold of ≥70%, and qualitative feedback was generally positive. CONCLUSIONS: Although perceived acceptable by patients, the iaya smartphone app did not meet the a priori feasibility criteria as a stand-alone app intervention. Future studies should screen participants for unmet coping needs and consider integrating the app as part of psychosocial care for young adult patients.
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