Development and usability testing of a cognitive-behavioral therapy-guided self-help mobile app and social media group for the post-acute treatment of anorexia nervosa

Agatha A. Laboe, Claire G. McGinnis, Molly Fennig, Kianna Zucker, Ellis Wu, Jillian Shah, Julie Levitan, Marie Laure Firebaugh, Anna M. Bardone-Cone, Kathleen M. Pike, C. Barr Taylor, Denise E. Wilfley, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is often treated in the acute setting, but relapse after treatment is common. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is useful in the post-acute period, but access to trained providers is limited. Social support is also critical during this period. This study utilized a user-centered design approach to develop and evaluate the usability of a CBT-based mobile app and social networking component for post-acute AN support. Method: Participants (N = 19) were recently discharged from acute treatment for AN. Usability testing of the intervention was conducted over three cycles; assessments included the System Usability Scale (SUS), the Usefulness, Satisfaction, and Ease of Use Questionnaire (USE), the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS), a social media questionnaire, and a semi-structured interview. Results: Interview feedback detailed aspects of the app that participants enjoyed and those needing improvement. Feedback converged on three themes: Logistical App Feedback, boosting recovery, and Real-World App/Social Media Use. USE and MARS scores were above average and SUS scores were “good” to “excellent” across cycles. Conclusion: This study provides evidence of feasibility and acceptability of an app and social networking feature for post-acute care of AN. The intervention has potential for offering scalable support for individuals with AN in the high-risk period following discharge from acute care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101865
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume53
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Digital intervention
  • Mental health treatment
  • Mobile app
  • mHealth

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