Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

An online survey of young adolescent girls' use of the internet and smartphone apps for mental health support

  • Rebecca Grist (a1), Bethany Cliffe (a2), Megan Denne (a3), Abigail Croker (a3) and Paul Stallard (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Adolescents are digital natives, with the majority now owning their own smartphones and having internet access. Although the internet and smartphone applications (apps) can provide mental health support, little is known about how young adolescents use digital technology for mental health purposes. There are many digital health resources available for young people, but the assumption that they will be open to use them has been largely untested.

Aims

We aimed to explore how adolescents with and without raised symptoms of anxiety, depression and problematic eating use the internet on smartphones/tablets and mental health apps.

Method

The Bristol Online Survey tool was used to deliver an online survey to 775 girls aged 11–16 years, attending a state-funded secondary school in the south-west of England. The survey was completed in class during the winter term of 2017.

Results

A total of 98.7 and 97.4% used the internet and apps, respectively, although only 6% had used any mental health apps. Of those with raised mental health symptoms, 15–17% used or were using a mental health app, with 48.5% reporting that they would not use a mental health app.

Conclusions

Young female adolescents are avid users of the internet and apps but are not using digital technology for mental health purposes. Addressing concerns about digital technology are necessary to maximise the effect it can have on child and adolescent mental health.

Declaration of interest

None.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      An online survey of young adolescent girls' use of the internet and smartphone apps for mental health support
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      An online survey of young adolescent girls' use of the internet and smartphone apps for mental health support
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      An online survey of young adolescent girls' use of the internet and smartphone apps for mental health support
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Paul Stallard, Department for Health, 6.10 Wessex House, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK. Email: p.stallard@bath.ac.uk
References
Hide All
1Patel, V, Flisher, AJ, Hetrick, S, McGorry, P. Mental health of young people: a global public-health challenge. Lancet 2007; 369: 1302–13.
2Kim-Cohen, J, Caspi, A, Moffitt, TE, Harrington, H, Milne, BJ, Poulton, R. Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder: developmental follow-back of a prospective-longitudinal cohort. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60: 709–17.
3Woodward, LJ, Fergusson, DM. Life course outcomes of young people with anxiety disorders in adolescence. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2001; 40: 1086–93.
4Fergusson, DM, Woodward, LJ. Mental health, educational, and social role outcomes of adolescents with depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002; 59: 225–31.
5James, A, James, G, Cowdrey, FA, Soler, A, Choke, A. Cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; 3: CD004690.
6National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Depression in Children and Young People: Identification and Management (Clinical Guideline 28). NICE, 2017 (www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg28).
7National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Eating Disorders: Recognition and Treatment. (Clinical Guideline 69). NICE, 2017 (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng69).
8Merikangas, KR, He, J, Burstein, M, Swendsen, J, Avenevoli, S, Case, B, et al. Service utilization for lifetime mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: results of the national comorbidity survey–adolescent supplement (NCS-A). J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2011; 50: 3245.
9Ford, T, Hamilton, H, Meltzer, H, Goodman, R. Child mental health is everybody's business: the prevalence of contact with public sector services by type of disorder among British school children in a three-year period. Child Adolesc Ment Health 2007; 12: 1320.
10Mental Health Taskforce. Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View. NHS England, 2017 (https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NEXT-STEPS-ON-THE-NHS-FIVE-YEAR-FORWARD-VIEW.pdf).
11Office of Communications (Ofcom). Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report. Ofcom, 2015 (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0034/93976/Children-Parents-Media-Use-Attitudes-Report-2016.pdf).
12IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The Growing Value of Digital Health in the United Kingdom. IQVIA, 2017 (https://www.iqvia.com/en/institute/reports/the-growing-value-of-digital-health-in-the-united-kingdom).
13Anthes, E. Pocket psychiatry: mobile mental-health apps have exploded onto the market, but few have been thoroughly tested. Nature 2016; 532: 20–4.
14Hollis, C, Falconer, C, Martin, J, Whittington, C, Stockton, S, Glazebrook, C, et al. Annual Research Review: digital health interventions for children and young people with mental health problems – a systematic and meta-review. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2016; 58: 474503.
15Bradford, S, Rickwood, D. Adolescent's preferred modes of delivery for mental health services. Child Adolesc Ment Health 2014; 19: 3945.
16Wetterlin, FM, Mar, MY, Neilson, EK, Werker, GR, Krausz, M. eMental health experiences and expectations: a survey of youths’ web-based resource preferences in Canada. J Med Internet Res 2014; 16: e293.
17Zigmond, AS, Snaith, RP. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1983; 67: 361–70.
18White, D, Leach, C, Sims, R, Atkinson, M, Cottrell, D. Validation of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for use with adolescents. Br J Psychiatry 1999; 175: 452–4.
19Morgan, JF, Reid, F, Lacey, JH. The SCOFF questionnaire: assessment of a new screening tool for eating disorders. BMJ 1999; 319: 1467–8.
20Hansson, E, Daukantaité, D, Johnsson, P. SCOFF in a general Swedish adolescent population. J Eat Disord 2015; 3: 48.
21Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). Ofsted Annual Report 2016/17 Data Summary. Ofsted, 2017 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-annual-report-201617-education-childrens-services-and-skills/ofsted-annual-report-201617-data-summary).
22Proudfoot, J, Parker, G, Pavlovic, D, Manicavasagar, V, Adler, E, Whitton, A. Community attitudes to the appropriation of mobile phones for monitoring and managing depression, anxiety, and stress. J Med Internet Res 2010; 12: e64.
23Batterham, P, Calear, A. Preferences for internet-based mental health interventions in an adult online sample: findings from an online community survey. J Med Internet Res 2017; 4: e26.
24Johnson, KR, Fuchs, E, Horvath, KJ, Scal, P. Distressed and looking for help: internet intervention support for arthritis self-management. J Adolesc Health 2015; 56: 666–71.
25Lal, S, Daniel, W, Rivard, L. Perspectives of family members on using technology in youth mental health care: a qualitative study. J Med Internet Res 2017; 4: e21.
26Grist, R, Porter, J, Stallard, P. Mental health mobile apps for preadolescents and adolescents: a systematic review. J Med Internet Res 2017; 19: e176.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Open
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2056-4724
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-open
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Grist et al. supplementary material
Grist et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (16 KB)
16 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

An online survey of young adolescent girls' use of the internet and smartphone apps for mental health support

  • Rebecca Grist (a1), Bethany Cliffe (a2), Megan Denne (a3), Abigail Croker (a3) and Paul Stallard (a4)...
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *