Currently accepted at: JMIR Mental Health
Date Submitted: Nov 18, 2017
Open Peer Review Period: Nov 25, 2017 - Dec 26, 2017
Date Accepted: Feb 12, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Engagement With a Trauma Recovery Internet Intervention Explained With the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA): Longitudinal Study
There has been a growing trend in the delivery of mental health treatment via technology (ie, electronic health, eHealth). However, engagement with eHealth interventions is a concern, and theoretically based research in this area is sparse. Factors that influence engagement are poorly understood, especially in trauma survivors with symptoms of posttraumatic stress.
The aim of this study was to examine engagement with a trauma recovery eHealth intervention using the Health Action Process Approach theoretical model. Outcome expectancy, perceived need, pretreatment self-efficacy, and trauma symptoms influence the formation of intentions (motivational phase), followed by planning, which mediates the translation of intentions into engagement (volitional phase). We hypothesized the mediational effect of planning would be moderated by level of treatment self-efficacy.
Trauma survivors from around the United States used the eHealth intervention for 2 weeks. We collected baseline demographic, social cognitive predictors, and distress symptoms and measured engagement subjectively and objectively throughout the intervention.
The motivational phase model explained 48% of the variance, and outcome expectations (beta=.36), perceived need (beta=.32), pretreatment self-efficacy (beta=.13), and trauma symptoms (beta=.21) were significant predictors of intention (N=440). In the volitional phase, results of the moderated mediation model indicated for low levels of treatment self-efficacy, planning mediated the effects of intention on levels of engagement (B=0.89, 95% CI 0.143-2.605; N=115).
Though many factors can affect engagement, these results offer a theoretical framework for understanding engagement with an eHealth intervention. This study highlighted the importance of perceived need, outcome expectations, self-efficacy, and baseline distress symptoms in the formation of intentions to use the intervention. For those low in treatment self-efficacy, planning may play an important role in the translation of intentions into engagement. Results of this study may help bring some clarification to the question of what makes eHealth interventions work.
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