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Investigating Relationships Among Self-Efficacy, Mood, and Anxiety Using Digital Technologies: Randomized Controlled Trial


Rohde, Judith; Marciniak, Marta Anna; Henninger, Mirka; Homan, Stephanie; Paersch, Christina; Egger, Stephan T; Seifritz, Erich; Brown, Adam D; Kleim, Birgit (2023). Investigating Relationships Among Self-Efficacy, Mood, and Anxiety Using Digital Technologies: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Formative Research, 7:e45749.

Abstract

Background
Digital tools assessing momentary parameters and offering interventions in people’s daily lives play an increasingly important role in mental health research and treatment. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) makes it possible to assess transient mental health states and their parameters. Ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) offer mental health interventions that fit well into individuals’ daily lives and routines. Self-efficacy is a transdiagnostic construct that is commonly associated with positive mental health outcomes.

Objective
The aim of our study assessing mood, specific self-efficacy, and other parameters using EMA was 2-fold. First, we wanted to determine the effects of daily assessed moods and dissatisfaction with social contacts as well as the effects of baseline variables, such as depression, on specific self-efficacy in the training group (TG). Second, we aimed to explore which variables influenced both groups’ positive and negative moods during the 7-day study period.

Methods
In this randomized controlled trial, we applied digital self-efficacy training (EMI) to 93 university students with elevated self-reported stress levels and daily collected different parameters, such as mood, dissatisfaction with social contacts, and specific self-efficacy, using EMA. Participants were randomized to either the TG, where they completed the self-efficacy training combined with EMA, or the control group, where they completed EMA only.

Results
In total, 93 university students participated in the trial. Positive momentary mood was associated with higher specific self-efficacy in the evening of the same day (b=0.15, SE 0.05, P=.005). Higher self-efficacy at baseline was associated with reduced negative mood during study participation (b=–0.61, SE 0.30, P=.04), while we could not determine an effect on positive mood. Baseline depression severity was significantly associated with lower specific self-efficacy over the week of the training (b=–0.92, SE 0.35, P=.004). Associations between higher baseline anxiety with higher mean negative mood (state anxiety: b=0.78, SE 0.38, P=.04; trait anxiety: b=0.73, SE 0.33, P=.03) and lower mean positive mood (b=–0.64, SE 0.28, P=.02) during study participation were found. Emotional flexibility was significantly enhanced in the TG. Additionally, dissatisfaction with social contacts was associated with both a decreased positive mood (b=–0.56, SE 0.15, P<.001) and an increased negative mood (b=0.45, SE 0.12, P<.001).

Conclusions
This study showed several significant associations between mood and self-efficacy as well as those between mood and anxiety in students with elevated stress levels, for example, suggesting that improving mood in people with low mood could enhance the effects of digital self-efficacy training. In addition, engaging in 1-week self-efficacy training was associated with increased emotional flexibility. Future work is needed to replicate and investigate the training’s effects in other groups and settings.

Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05617248; https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05617248

Abstract

Background
Digital tools assessing momentary parameters and offering interventions in people’s daily lives play an increasingly important role in mental health research and treatment. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) makes it possible to assess transient mental health states and their parameters. Ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) offer mental health interventions that fit well into individuals’ daily lives and routines. Self-efficacy is a transdiagnostic construct that is commonly associated with positive mental health outcomes.

Objective
The aim of our study assessing mood, specific self-efficacy, and other parameters using EMA was 2-fold. First, we wanted to determine the effects of daily assessed moods and dissatisfaction with social contacts as well as the effects of baseline variables, such as depression, on specific self-efficacy in the training group (TG). Second, we aimed to explore which variables influenced both groups’ positive and negative moods during the 7-day study period.

Methods
In this randomized controlled trial, we applied digital self-efficacy training (EMI) to 93 university students with elevated self-reported stress levels and daily collected different parameters, such as mood, dissatisfaction with social contacts, and specific self-efficacy, using EMA. Participants were randomized to either the TG, where they completed the self-efficacy training combined with EMA, or the control group, where they completed EMA only.

Results
In total, 93 university students participated in the trial. Positive momentary mood was associated with higher specific self-efficacy in the evening of the same day (b=0.15, SE 0.05, P=.005). Higher self-efficacy at baseline was associated with reduced negative mood during study participation (b=–0.61, SE 0.30, P=.04), while we could not determine an effect on positive mood. Baseline depression severity was significantly associated with lower specific self-efficacy over the week of the training (b=–0.92, SE 0.35, P=.004). Associations between higher baseline anxiety with higher mean negative mood (state anxiety: b=0.78, SE 0.38, P=.04; trait anxiety: b=0.73, SE 0.33, P=.03) and lower mean positive mood (b=–0.64, SE 0.28, P=.02) during study participation were found. Emotional flexibility was significantly enhanced in the TG. Additionally, dissatisfaction with social contacts was associated with both a decreased positive mood (b=–0.56, SE 0.15, P<.001) and an increased negative mood (b=0.45, SE 0.12, P<.001).

Conclusions
This study showed several significant associations between mood and self-efficacy as well as those between mood and anxiety in students with elevated stress levels, for example, suggesting that improving mood in people with low mood could enhance the effects of digital self-efficacy training. In addition, engaging in 1-week self-efficacy training was associated with increased emotional flexibility. Future work is needed to replicate and investigate the training’s effects in other groups and settings.

Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05617248; https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05617248

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Special Collections > Centers of Competence > Healthy Longevity Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Medicine (miscellaneous)
Health Sciences > Health Informatics
Uncontrolled Keywords:self-efficacy; digital intervention; digital assessment; EMA; EMI; mood; anxiety; emotional flexibility
Language:English
Date:14 August 2023
Deposited On:20 Nov 2023 11:45
Last Modified:30 May 2024 01:48
Publisher:JMIR Publications
ISSN:2561-326X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2196/45749
PubMed ID:37578827
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)