Meeting Young Adults' Social Support Needs across the Health Behavior Change Journey: Implications for Digital Mental Health Tools

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5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In pursuit of mental wellness, many find that behavioral change is necessary. This process can often be difficult but is facilitated by strong social support. This paper explores the role of social support across behavioral change journeys among young adults, a group at high risk for mental health challenges, but with the lowest rates of mental health treatment utilization. Given that digital mental health tools are effective for treating mental health conditions, they hold particular promise for bridging the treatment gap among young adults, many of whom, are not interested in-or cannot access-traditional mental healthcare. We recruited a sample of young adults with depression who were seeking information about their symptoms online to participate in an Asynchronous Remote Community (ARC) elicitation workshop. Participants detailed the changing nature of social interactions across their behavior change journeys. They noted that both directed and undirected support are necessary early in behavioral change and certain needs such as informational support are particularly pronounced, while healthy coping partnerships and accountability are more important later in the change process. We discuss the conceptual and design implications of our findings for the next generation of digital mental health tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number312
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

Keywords

  • digital health interventions
  • health journeys
  • mental health
  • transtheoretical model
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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