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Positive Psychology Apps providing self-help exercises to promote well-being: A systematic review

Flöttmann, Malin (2016) Positive Psychology Apps providing self-help exercises to promote well-being: A systematic review.

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Abstract:Background:This study aimed to explore the availability and quality of current positive psychology apps providing self-help exercises to improve well-being. Quality was assessed with regard to the following criteria: (1) theoretical background and (2) incorporation of persuasive design principles. Methods: A systematic review framework was applied to the search and assessment of apps available in the German iOS app store providing self-help interventions to promote well-being suited for the general population. A theory-based content analysis was conducted using a coding scheme in order to evaluate the theoretical background of the apps. This coding scheme was developed based on literature research indicating which factors contribute to well-being and which interventions or exercises were already proven to be effective. The analysis of the incorporation of persuasive design principles was based on the persuasive system design (PSD) model by Oinas-Kukkonen and Harjumaa (2009). Results: Apps included on average two evidence-based self-help exercises that promote well-being and three elements of Seligman’s well-being theory (PERMA). Persuasive design principles were moderately employed, ranging from 5 to 19 included elements per app. Principles of the category primary task support were most commonly used, whereas principles of the social support category were the least used ones. Conclusion: The quality of the theoretical background of the apps seemed to be good, since they widely included evidence-based exercises and elements of PERMA. However, areas of improvement were identified. App developers should put effort into the development of apps that train important competences such as using personal strengths and coping with setbacks. Apps should further provide exercises that are more tailored to the user. Finally, the recommended dosage of self-help exercises should be more taken into account.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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