Volume 6, Article 3
Mobile Application Interventions in Positive Psychology: Current Status and Recommendations for Effective Design
Gus C. Salazar, Jeremy Bekker and Jared S.Warren
Citation: Salazar, G. C., Bekker, J., & Warren, J. S. (2022). Mobile Application Interventions in Positive Psychology: Current Status and Recommendations for Effective Design. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 6, 3,1-17. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-6-2022/volume-6-article-3/
Processing dates: Submitted 19 August 2021; Resubmitted 13 December 2021; Accepted 18 January 2022; Published 29 April 2022
Background: Positive psychology practices allow for its principles to be applied to all people, regardless of their current level of functioning. To increase the dissemination of these practices,
interventions are being adapted for use with digital technology, such as mobile apps. However, the research regarding positive psychology mobile app interventions is still in its infancy.
Objectives: This review aimed to 1) summarize the current state of the positive psychology mobile app literature and 2) present research-supported recommendations for positive psychology app development to maximize behavior change.
Results: We found that while positive psychology apps varied widely in content and purpose, there was a near-complete lack of research supporting their effectiveness. Most apps provided no
rationale for the behavioral change techniques (BCTs) they employed in their app, and most did not develop their app with specific theoretical frameworks or design models in mind.
Discussion: Given this problem, we recommended three steps for effective positive psychology app design. First, developers must establish their app in a research-supported theory of change. Second, researchers must select appropriate behavioral change techniques which are consistent with their app’s goals. Third, researchers must leverage effective design principles. These steps will help mobile applications use data-driven methods for encouraging behavior change in their users. Lastly, we discuss directions for future research.
Keywords: Behavioral Change Technique, Mobile Applications, Mobile App, Mobile Intervention, eHealth, Positive Psychology
Gus Salazar is a clinical psychology Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA
Jeremy Bekker is a clinical psychology Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA
Jared Warren is an associate professor with the Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA