Volume 5, Article 12

Volume 5, Article 12

Mental health promotion among university students using a mobile health intervention: Longitudinal findings from a randomized controlled trial

Marcus Bendtsen and Kristin Thomas

Citation: Bendtsen, M., & Thomas K. (2021). ‘Mental health promotion among university students using a mobile health intervention: Longitudinal findings from a randomized controlled trial’, European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 12, 1-18. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-12/

Processing dates: Submitted 11th January 2021; Re-submitted 27th May 2021; Accepted 27th May 2021; Published 2nd September 2021

Open Access. Copyright: © 2021. Kristin Thomas and Marcus Bendtsen. Published in European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. Published by National Wellbeing Services Ltd. This article is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license. Full terms of licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Abstract
Background: Research shows that positive psychology interventions have a small to medium effect on wellbeing, depression, anxiety, and stress. However, few studies have investigated long-term mental health outcomes.
Methods: This paper reports on the 6- and 12-month effects of a mobile phone based positive psychology intervention on wellbeing among university students in Sweden. A 2-arm, single blind (researchers), parallel groups, randomized controlled trial was employed.
Results: In total 654 individuals (25 years median age, 78% female) were randomized to the intervention (n=348) or control group (n=306). Primary outcome was positive mental health (Mental Health Continuum-Short Form).  Secondary outcomes were depression and anxiety symptomatology (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). A lasting effect on wellbeing was observed. An immediate positive effect was observed on anxiety and depression outcomes which waned over time.
Discussion and conclusions: The findings suggest that mobile phone-based interventions could be an important tool in a wider strategy for mental health promotion. Future research could improve on the effects observed in this study by finding ways to optimise person-activity fit and tailor the intervention content.

Keywords: mental health promotion; positive psychology intervention; mobile health intervention; university students; randomized controlled trial


EJAPP 5-12

Biographies

Marcus Bendtsen is with the Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6434-4855

Kristin Thomas is with the Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8678-1164