Source of Publication
This paper aims to objectively compare the use of mental health apps between the pre-COVID-19 and during COVID-19 periods and to study differences amongst the users of these apps based on age and gender. The study utilizes a dataset collected through a smartphone app that objectively records the users' sessions. The dataset was analyzed to identify users of mental health apps (38 users of mental health apps pre-COVID-19 and 81 users during COVID-19) and to calculate the following usage metrics; the daily average use time, the average session time, the average number of launches, and the number of usage days. The mental health apps were classified into two categories: guidance-based and tracking-based apps. The results include the increased number of users of mental health apps during the COVID-19 period as compared to pre-COVID-19. Adults (aged 24 and above), compared to emerging adults (aged 15-24 years), were found to have a higher usage of overall mental health apps and guidance-based mental health apps. Furthermore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, males were found to be more likely to launch overall mental health apps and guidance-based mental health apps compared to females. The findings from this paper suggest that despite the increased usage of mental health apps amongst males and adults, user engagement with mental health apps remained minimal. This suggests the need for these apps to work towards improved user engagement and retention.
Computer Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Aziz, Maryam; Erbad, Aiman; Almourad, Mohamed Basel; Altuwairiqi, Majid; McAlaney, John; and Ali, Raian, "Did Usage of Mental Health Apps Change during COVID-19? A Comparative Study Based on an Objective Recording of Usage Data and Demographics" (2022). All Works. 5348.
Indexed in Scopus
Open Access Type
Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series