Marcano Belisario JS, Doherty K, O'Donoghue J, Ramchandani P, Majeed A, Doherty G, Morrison C, Car J. A bespoke mobile application for the longitudinal assessment of depression and mood during pregnancy: protocol of a feasibility study. BMJ Open. 2017 May 29;7(5):e014469. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014469

INTRODUCTION: Depression is a common mental health disorder during pregnancy, with important consequences for mothers and their children. Despite this, it goes undiagnosed and untreated in many women attending antenatal care. Smartphones could help support the prompt identification of antenatal depression in this setting. In addition, these devices enable the implementation of ecological momentary assessment techniques, which could be used to assess how mood is experienced during pregnancy. With this study, we will assess the feasibility of using a bespoke mobile application (app) running on participants’ own handsets for the longitudinal (6 months) monitoring of antenatal mood and screening of depression.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will use a randomised controlled study design to compare two types of assessment strategies: retrospective + momentary (consisting of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale plus five momentary and two contextual questions), and retrospective (consisting of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale only). We will assess the impact that these strategies have on participant adherence to a prespecified sampling protocol, dropout rates and timeliness of data completion. We will evaluate differences in acceptance of the technology through a short quantitative survey and open-ended questions. We will also assess the potential effect that momentary assessments could have on retrospective data. We will attempt to identify any patterns in app usage through the analysis of log data.

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