Background: Given their growing popularity, mobile health (mHealth) apps may offer a viable method of delivering psychological interventions for people with an atypical appearance (ie, visible difference) who struggle with appearance-related distress. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a third-wave cognitive behavioral approach, has been used effectively in mHealth and is being increasingly applied clinically to common psychosocial difficulties associated with visible differences. We planned to design an ACT-based mHealth intervention (ACT It Out) for this population. Objective: The aim of this study is to gain key stakeholder input from user representatives and psychological clinicians to optimize the intervention’s design for future development and uptake. To do so, we explored considerations relating to mHealth as a delivery platform for adults with visible differences and elicited stakeholders’ design preferences and ideas based on initial author-created content. Methods: Within a participatory design framework, we used a mix of qualitative methods, including usability sessions and a focus group in a face-to-face workshop, and interviews and textual feedback collected remotely, all analyzed using template analysis. A total of 6 user representatives and 8 clinicians were recruited for this study. Results: Our findings suggest that there are likely to be strengths and challenges of mHealth as an intervention platform for the study population, with key concerns being user safeguarding and program adherence. Participants expressed design preferences toward relatable human content, interactive and actionable features, flexibility of use, accessibility, and engaging content. Conclusions: The findings offer valuable design directions for ACT It Out and related interventions, emphasizing the need to carefully guide users through the intervention while acknowledging the limited time and space that mHealth affords.
Zucchelli, F., Donnelly, O., Rush, E., Smith, H., Williamson, H., & The VTCT Foundation Research Team, . (2021). Designing an mHealth intervention for people with visible differences based on acceptance and commitment therapy: Participatory study gaining stakeholders’ input. JMIR Formative Research, 5(3), https://doi.org/10.2196/26355