Adapting a Psychosocial Intervention for Smartphone Delivery to Middle-Aged and Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness

Published:January 05, 2017DOI:


      To describe the process of adapting an integrated medical and psychiatric self-management intervention to a smartphone application for middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illness using an adaptive systems engineering framework and user-centered design.


      First, we determined the technical abilities and needs of middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illnesses using smartphones. Then, we developed smartphone content through principles of user-centered design and modified an existing smartphone platform. Finally, we conducted a usability test using “think aloud” and verbal probing.


      We adapted a psychosocial self-management intervention to a smartphone application and tested its usability. Ten participants (mean age: 55.3 years, SD: 6.2 years) with serious mental illness and comorbid chronic health conditions reported a high level of usability and satisfaction with the smartphone application.


      Middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illness and limited technical abilities were able to participate in a process involving user-centered design and adaptation of a self-management intervention to be delivered by a smartphone. High usability ratings suggest that middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illness have the potential to use tailored smartphone interventions. Future research is indicated to establish effectiveness and to determine the type and intensity of clinical support needed to successfully implement smartphone applications as a component of community-based services for older adults with psychiatric and medical conditions.

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