Mobile phone application to support self-management of health and well-being

The increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related health risks coupled with the lack of resources in preventative healthcare calls for novel and cost-efficient methods for supporting citizens in their independent health and well-being management. Behaviour modification is an efficient way of preventing chronic diseases and other lifestyle-related health problems, provided that the healthy behaviours are sustained over the long term.

The challenge is to develop efficient methods that support citizens in their health management and empower them to take more responsibility for their health. Psychological methods, such as those based on cognitive-behavioural therapies, provide an understanding of behaviour change as well as efficient methods for supporting it. However, providing preventative face-to-face therapies for health promotion is not economically feasible and does not necessarily offer the long-term support required to establish permanent healthy behaviours.

Lately, information and communication technologies (ICT) have been harnessed for use in health promotion programs. Mobile phones provide a particularly promising platform for health management applications due to their central role in people's lives as well as their technical capabilities. This thesis presents a mobile phone application for supporting the self-management of health and well-being, targeting working-age citizens.

The Wellness Diary (WD) is based on a core method in cognitive-behavioural self-management, self-monitoring. The main aim was to enable the long-term self-management of well-being with the help of a mobile terminal. WD has been evaluated in several studies with different user groups and in different research settings.. Three of the evaluations are presented in this thesis. Based on the results, most users found WD to be easy to use and useful. Furthermore, a significant number of users used WD regularly over several months, which shows that WD is capable of enabling long-term self-monitoring.


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