• 13 DEC 05
    • 0

    Aust study uses mobiles to monitor teen depression!

    While searching for the Australian study mentioned in the last message I came across another Australian study reported in May of 2005. This is NOT the study referred to in the last message but is interestingly relevant. Now if teenager’s cell phone use is linked to depression what will this study find? Could be interesting.

    And I wonder who is funding it?


    Aust study uses mobiles to monitor teen angst
    The Age – Sydney Edition
    May 2, 2005

    Australian researchers are planning to use teenagers’ love of mobile phones to help monitor adolescent depression and pick up warning signs of potentially suicidal behaviour.

    Psychologist Sophie Reid from Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute hit on the idea after finding it impossible to persuade teenagers to fill in normal monitoring documents such as questionnaires and diaries.

    “Teenagers tend to resist going to psychologists when they’re feeling down and filling out questionnaires is like doing homework for them,” she said.

    “We needed a youth-friendly, savvy way to get teenagers involved. One thing they are enthusiastic about is their mobile phones, they don’t tend to lose them and they’re more proficient than adults at using them.”

    Under the program, teenagers download specially-designed software on their mobile phones which asks a series of questions twice a day to gauge the youths’ moods and susceptibilty to depression.

    “It’ll ask things like ‘are you alone?’, ‘has anything happened to stress you recently?’ and ‘if so what did you do to cope with it?’,” Reid said.

    “We’re trying to build up a picture of what factors contribute to teenagers suffering depression because while we can treat depression, we need more information about what causes it – it’s one of those conditions that can sneak up on you.”

    At the end of the week the information stored in the mobile phone is downloaded to researchers using infrared or bluetooth connections.

    In the trial, the software will be installed in the phone of 400 teenagers for 12 months.

    Reid said the goal was to indentify the early warning signs of depression and eventually incorporate the information into widely available software that teenagers wanting help coping with depression could download from the internet.

    “About 30 per cent of Australian teenagers suffer from depression,” she said. “It can be a precursor to youth suicide and it’s a major concern to society.”

    “Our long-term vision is to use the phone to help young people identify when they’re really low and what is making things better or worse — the phone will provide a menu of assistacne and treatment options.”

    She said feedback from teenagers had been enthusiastic.

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