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Investigating the Effect of Personalization in a Mental Health App on Depressive Symptoms
DescriptionMental health apps have shown promise in improving quality of life in a variety of contexts; however, it is unclear how specific internal app features influence the effectiveness of such apps. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of app feature personalization, including avatar customization and naming, on depressive symptoms. A total of 59 students completed a 14-day trial utilizing a novel cognitive behavioral therapy-based app developed exclusively for this study. The study entailed a two-group experimental design with randomization to either a personalization or no-personalization version of the app. AirHeart successfully reduced depressive symptoms over the two-week period, but personalization of an avatar did not further this reduction.