Pre-post, mixed-methods feasibility study of the WorkingWell mobile support tool for individuals with serious mental illness in the USA: a pilot study protocol.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Successful competitive employment has been found to be related to enhanced self-esteem, higher quality of life and reduced mental health service use for individuals living with serious mental illnesses (SMIs) including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. The effectiveness of the individual placement and support model has been demonstrated in multiple randomised controlled trials in many countries. The management of stress, depression and anxiety in the workplace may be effectively enhanced through digital mental health interventions. The WorkingWell mobile support tool ('app') is specifically designed to meet the need for illness management support for individuals with SMI in the workplace, as an adjunct to professional treatment. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:The WorkingWell app, grounded in evidence-based supported employment, is informed by user experience design. It will be tested in a pre-post design, mixed-methods pilot study to explore issues of feasibility, acceptability and usefulness, and to provide preliminary data on the impact of use. Putative mediators of improved job tenure and psychological well-being, including postintervention changes in social support, self-efficacy and work-related motivation, will be investigated. Forty individuals at least 18 years of age, meeting the eligibility requirements for supported employment services (ie, diagnosed with a mental illness meeting the criteria for severity, duration and treatment), working a minimum of 10?hours per week at study enrolment, and speaking, reading and writing in English will be recruited for the pilot study. Research staff will recruit individuals at community-based mental health agencies; provide orientation to the study, the study smartphones and the WorkingWell app; conduct research interviews including standardised measures as well as semistructured items; and provide technical assistance in telephone calls and inperson meetings. A sample of 10 agency staff will be recruited to obtain further information on the feasibility, acceptability and usefulness of WorkingWell. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The study design and procedures are approved by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Central Office Research Review Committee and the Vermont Agency of Human Services Institutional Review Board. Study findings will be disseminated to agency partners, state agencies and funders, and to the research and technology development communities. Findings from the study will inform the design, data collection procedures and protocol for future full-scale randomised controlled trial testing of the effectiveness of the WorkingWell app, as well as investigations of work-related variables as mediators of psychological well-being and quality of life for individuals with SMI.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Smoking rates of Australians with severe mental illness (SMI) are disproportionately higher than the general population. Despite the rapid growth in mobile health (mHealth) apps, limited evidence exists to inform their design for SMI populations. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of adapting a novel smoking cessation app (Kick.it) to assist smokers with SMI to prevent smoking relapse and quit. METHODS:Using co-design, two in-depth interviews with 12 adult smokers and ex-smokers with SMI were conducted in this qualitative study. Stage 1 interviews explored participants' smoking-related experiences and perceptions of social support for smoking cessation, informed the development of the stage 2 interview schedule, and provided context for participants' responses to the second interview. Stage 2 interviews explored participants' perceptions of the feasibility, utility, and acceptability of the app features for SMI populations. RESULTS:People with SMI perceived mHealth interventions to support their quit smoking attempts as feasible, acceptable, and useful. Key emerging themes included personalization of the app to users' psychosocial needs, a caring app to mediate self-esteem and self-efficacy, an app that normalizes smoking relapse and multiple quit attempts, a strong focus on user experience to improve usability, and a social network to enhance social support for smoking cessation. CONCLUSIONS:This study gained an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of smoking and quitting among people with SMI and their perception of the Kick.it app features to help inform the tailoring of the app. Specific program tailoring is required to assist them in navigating the complex interactions between mental illness and smoking in relation to their psychosocial well-being and capacity to quit. This study describes the adaptations required for the Kick.it app to meet the specific needs and preferences of people with SMI. Results of this study will guide the tailoring of the Kick.it app for SMI populations. The study findings can also inform a co-design process for the future development and design of smoking cessation apps for SMI populations.
Project description:Background:Heterogeneity in work outcomes is common among individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). Objective:In 2 studies, we sought to examine the efficacy of adding errorless learning, a behavioral training intervention, to evidence-based supported employment to improve SMI work outcomes. Work behavior problems were targeted for intervention. We also explored associations between early work behavior and job tenure. Methods:For both studies (VA: n = 71; community mental health center: n = 91), randomization occurred at the time of job obtainment with participants randomized (1:1) to either errorless learning plus ongoing supported employment or ongoing supported employment alone and then followed for 12 months. Dependent variables included job tenure, work behavior, and hours worked and wages earned per week. For the primary intent-to-treat analyses, data were combined across studies. Results:Findings revealed that participants in the errorless learning plus supported employment group stayed on their jobs significantly longer than those in the supported employment alone group (32.8 vs 25.6 wk). In addition, differential treatment effects favoring errorless learning were found on targeted work behavior problems (50.5% vs 27.4% improvement from baseline to follow-up assessment). There were no other differential treatment effects. For the prediction analyses involving work behavior, social skills explained an additional 18.3% of the variance in job tenure beyond levels of cognition, symptom severity, and past work history. Conclusions:These data support errorless learning as an adjunctive intervention to enhance supported employment outcomes and implicate the relevance of workplace social difficulties as a key impediment to prolonged job tenure.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Smoking rates in the United States have been reduced in the past decades to 15% of the general population. However, up to 88% of people with psychiatric symptoms still smoke, leading to high rates of disease and mortality. Therefore, there is a great need to develop smoking cessation interventions that have adequate levels of usability and can reach this population. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to report the rationale, ideation, design, user research, and final specifications of a novel smoking cessation app for people with serious mental illness (SMI) that will be tested in a feasibility trial. METHODS:We used a variety of user-centered design methods and materials to develop the tailored smoking cessation app. This included expert panel guidance, a set of design principles and theory-based smoking cessation content, development of personas and paper prototyping, usability testing of the app prototype, establishment of app's core vision and design specification, and collaboration with a software development company. RESULTS:We developed Learn to Quit, a smoking cessation app designed and tailored to individuals with SMI that incorporates the following: (1) evidence-based smoking cessation content from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and US Clinical Practice Guidelines for smoking cessation aimed at providing skills for quitting while addressing mental health symptoms, (2) a set of behavioral principles to increase retention and comprehension of smoking cessation content, (3) a gamification component to encourage and sustain app engagement during a 14-day period, (4) an app structure and layout designed to minimize usability errors in people with SMI, and (5) a set of stories and visuals that communicate smoking cessation concepts and skills in simple terms. CONCLUSIONS:Despite its increasing importance, the design and development of mHealth technology is typically underreported, hampering scientific innovation. This report describes the systematic development of the first smoking cessation app tailored to people with SMI, a population with very high rates of nicotine addiction, and offers new design strategies to engage this population. mHealth developers in smoking cessation and related fields could benefit from a design strategy that capitalizes on the role visual engagement, storytelling, and the systematic application of behavior analytic principles to deliver evidence-based content.
Project description:Despite public health efforts, individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) still have very high rates of tobacco smoking. Innovative approaches to reach this population are needed. These series of case studies aimed to descriptively evaluate the usability, user experience (UX), and user engagement (UE) of Learn to Quit (LTQ), an acceptance and commitment therapy smoking cessation app designed for people with SMI, and to compare it with an app designed for the general population, NCI (National Cancer Institute) QuitGuide (QG). Both apps were combined with nicotine replacement therapy and technical coaching. Inspired by the ORBIT model, we implemented two case studies with crossover AB interventions, two B-phase training designs, and three bi-phasic AB single-case designs with Start-Point and Order randomization (A = QG, B = LTQ). Study outcomes were measured using the System Usability Scale, UX interviews, and background analytics. LTQ's usability levels were above the standard cutoff and on average higher than QG. UX outcomes suggested the relative benefits of LTQ's visual design, gamification and simple design structure. LTQ's overall UE was high; the app was opened for an average of 14 min per day (vs. QG: 7 min). However, users showed low levels of UE with each of the app's tracking feature. Measures of psychiatric functioning suggested the safety of LTQ in people with SMI. LTQ appears to be a usable and engaging smoking cessation app in people with SMI. An optimized version of LTQ should be tested in a Phase II study.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Prospective memory (the ability to remember to do things) has clear implications for everyday functioning, including employment, in people with severe mental illnesses (SMI). This study aimed to evaluate prospective memory performance and its relationship to real-world functional variables in an employment-seeking sample of people with SMI (Clinical Trial registration number NCT00895258). METHOD:153 individuals with DSM-IV diagnosis of depression (n = 58), bipolar disorder (n = 37), or schizophrenia (n = 58) who were receiving outpatient psychiatric care at a university clinic enrolled in a trial of supported employment and completed a baseline assessment. Prospective memory was measured with the Memory for Intentions Test (MIST); real-world functional status included work history variables, clinical history variables, baseline functional capacity (UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment-Brief), and work outcomes (weeks worked and wages earned during two years of supported employment). RESULTS:Participants with schizophrenia performed worse on the MIST than did those with affective disorders. Independent of diagnosis, education, and estimated intellectual functioning, prospective memory significantly predicted variance in measures of disability and illness burden (disability benefits, hospitalization history, current functional capacity), and work outcomes over two years of supported employment (weeks worked). CONCLUSIONS:Worse prospective memory appears to be associated with greater illness burden and functional disability in SMI. Mental health clinicians and employment specialists may counsel clients to use compensatory prospective memory strategies to improve work performance and decrease functional disability associated with SMI.
Project description:Background:Serious mental illness (SMI) is a prevalent public health problem affecting 25% of individuals in jail. Re-entry to the community following incarceration is a vulnerable time for justice-involved individuals with SMI. SMI requires prompt and ongoing access to mental health and other healthcare services. Methods:The study will (1) develop a Mentoring And Peer Support (MAPS) intervention for post-release mental health and other service connection among jailed individuals with SMI and (2) pilot test the MAPS intervention to determine its feasibility and acceptability. The primary outcomes will be to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the proposed recruitment methods and research design, of the intervention training methods, and of delivering the enhanced peer-navigator and control interventions. Study samples include focus groups (n=36), open trial (n=15), and a randomized pilot trial in a sample of 40 individuals with SMI re-entering the community after jail release. Secondary outcomes will include post-release enrollment in mental health, medical care, and substance use services. We will also evaluate reduction in psychiatric symptoms, improvements in functioning, adherence to psychiatric medications, fewer substance using days, fewer hospitalizations and suicide attempts, nights unstably housed, and time until rearrest. Discussion:This pilot study will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a peer navigation intervention for individuals with serious mental illness leaving jails. The study will serve as a formative work for a larger randomized controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of peer navigator intervention for (include the primary outcome) in this population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Employment is good for physical and mental health, however people with severe mental illness (SMI) are often excluded from employment. Standard Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is effective in supporting around 55% of people with SMI into employment or education. Current research considers enhancements to IPS to improve outcomes for those requiring more complex interventions. Clinicians need to better understand who will benefit from these enhanced IPS interventions. This study offers a new enhanced IPS intervention and an approach to predicting who may achieve successful outcomes. METHODS:This prospective cohort study included people with SMI who participated in an enhanced IPS service and had prolonged absence from employment. Secondary data analysis was conducted of data gathered in routine clinical practice. Univariate analysis coupled with previous research and clinical consultation was used to select variables to be included in the initial model, followed by a backward stepwise approach to model building for the final multiple logistic regression model with an outcome of successful or unsuccessful goal attainment (employment or education). RESULTS:Sixty-three percent of participants in the enhanced IPS successfully attained employment or education. Significant relationships from bivariate analyses were identified between outcomes (employment or education) and seven psychosocial variables. Adapting Routines to Minimise Difficulties, Work Related Goals, and Living in an Area of Lesser Deprivation were found to be significant in predicting employment or education in the final multiple logistic regression model R2 =?0.16 (Hosmer-Lemeshow), 0.19 (Cox-Snell), 0.26 (Nagelkerke). Model ?2(7)?=?41.38 p <?.001. CONCLUSION:An enhanced IPS service had a 63% rate success in achieving employment or education, higher than comparable studies and provides an alternative to IPS-Lite and IPS-standard for more complex populations. Motivational and habitual psychosocial variables are helpful in predicting who may benefit from an enhanced IPS intervention supporting people after prolonged absence from employment. TRIAL REGISTRATION:NCT04083404 Registered 05 September 2019 (retrospectively registered).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Precarious employment is a risk factor for poor mental health, particularly among young adults. Knowledge about how young people maintain their mental health while in a precarious employment situation is scarce. The aim of the study was to explore the meaning of precarious employment for young adults in Sweden and their strategies for maintaining good mental health. METHODS:In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 individuals (9 men and 6 women) aged 20-39?years in a precarious employment situation. Contact persons at union offices and at specific job-coaching organizations collaborating with the Swedish public employment agency in the city of Malmö were gate openers to reach informants. Analysis was based on constructivist grounded theory, implying an emergent design where data collection and analysis go hand in hand. RESULTS:All informants had completed secondary school in Sweden, and one third had studied at the university level. A majority currently had jobs; however, they were mostly employed on an hourly basis and only a few had temporary full-time jobs. The analysis resulted in a core category "Diverting blame to stay sane," which summarized an emergent coping process involving individual resources and resources represented by the individuals' social capital. The developed theoretical model contained four main categories, "Facing reality," "Losing control," "Adapting," and "Fighting back," related to the core category. CONCLUSIONS:The results implied a process where the challenges created by loss of employment-based rights required a coping process where the individual's social capital plays an important role. However, social capital is to a large extent determined by contextual factors, underlining the strong health equity aspect of precarious employment.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Use of research evidence in public health decision making can be affected by organizational supports. Study objectives are to identify patterns of organizational supports and explore associations with research evidence use for job tasks among public health practitioners. DESIGN:In this longitudinal study, we used latent class analysis to identify organizational support patterns, followed by mixed logistic regression analysis to quantify associations with research evidence use. SETTING:The setting included 12 state public health department chronic disease prevention units and their external partnering organizations involved in chronic disease prevention. PARTICIPANTS:Chronic disease prevention staff from 12 US state public health departments and partnering organizations completed self-report surveys at 2 time points, in 2014 and 2016 (N = 872). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Latent class analysis was employed to identify subgroups of survey participants with distinct patterns of perceived organizational supports. Two classify-analyze approaches (maximum probability assignment and multiple pseudo-class draws) were used in 2017 to investigate the association between latent class membership and research evidence use. RESULTS:The optimal model identified 4 latent classes, labeled as "unsupportive workplace," "low agency leadership support," "high agency leadership support," and "supportive workplace." With maximum probability assignment, participants in "high agency leadership support" (odds ratio = 2.08; 95% CI, 1.35-3.23) and "supportive workplace" (odds ratio = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.10-2.74) were more likely to use research evidence in job tasks than "unsupportive workplace." The multiple pseudo-class draws produced comparable results with odds ratio = 2.09 (95% CI, 1.31-3.30) for "high agency leadership support" and odds ratio = 1.74 (95% CI, 1.07-2.82) for "supportive workplace." CONCLUSIONS:Findings suggest that leadership support may be a crucial element of organizational supports to encourage research evidence use. Organizational supports such as supervisory expectations, access to evidence, and participatory decision making may need leadership support as well to improve research evidence use in public health job tasks.