Post-traumatic stress and other problems often occur after combat, deployment, and other military operations. Because techniques such as mindfulness meditation show efficacy in improving mental health, our team developed a mobile application (app) for individuals in the armed forces with subclinical psychological problems as secondary prevention of more significant disease. Based on the Personal Health Intervention Toolkit (PHIT), a mobile app framework for personalized health intervention studies, PHIT for Duty integrates mindfulness-based relaxation, behavioral education in sleep quality and alcohol use, and psychometric and psychophysiological data capture. We evaluated PHIT for Duty in usability and health assessment studies to establish app quality for use in health research. Participants (N = 31) rated usability on a 1 (very hard) to 5 (very easy) scale and also completed the System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire (N = 9). Results were (mean ± SD) overall (4.5 ± 0.6), self-report instruments (4.5 ± 0.7), pulse sensor (3.7 ± 1.2), sleep monitor (4.4 ± 0.7), sleep monitor comfort (3.7 ± 1.1), and wrist actigraphy comfort (2.7 ± 0.9). The average SUS score was 85 ± 12, indicating a rank of 95%. A comparison of PHIT-based assessments to traditional paper forms demonstrated a high overall correlation (r = 0.87). These evaluations of usability, health assessment accuracy, physiological sensing, system acceptability, and overall functionality have shown positive results and affirmation for using the PHIT framework and PHIT for Duty application in mobile health research.
Keywords: mobile health; PTSD; HRV; RSA; mindfulness; stress relaxation
Journal Article. 6419 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Medicine and Health ; Emergency Medicine ; Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ; Military Psychology ; Warfare and Defence
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