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ADAPTATION AND EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE INTERVENTION FOR ANXIETY IN YOUTH

Grant number: 22/07827-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2023
Effective date (End): September 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Psychological Treatment and Prevention
Principal Investigator:Carmem Beatriz Neufeld
Grantee:Juliana Maltoni Nogueira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Half of the chronic mental disorders begin in late adolescence, a trajectory that will directly influence the adjustment in adult life, making youth one of the focuses of prevention and psychological treatment. Despite the negative global impact of this scenario, there is a lack of investment and basic access to adequate treatments. In Brazil, one of the most prevalent psychological disorders is anxiety. With the increasing use of technology in our daily lives, it has proved to be a promising tool in overcoming access barriers to evidence-based interventions, with demonstrated effectiveness for online and self-guided interventions. Despite the potential for the health area, the excessive use of these devices has also raised concerns, with several negative impacts observed among young people. Part of this behavior pattern can be explained by the extensive exploration of the brain's reward system made by highly adherent apps. Thus, understanding the type of use of digital technologies in Brazilian youth and the possibilities of adhering to online health programs can contribute to the development of this type of intervention in the country. This work proposes to adapt and evaluate a self-guided intervention for anxiety with minimal on-demand support and to investigate the relationship between digital technology use and mental health in young Brazilians aged 18 to 24 years. This work will be developed in three studies. In study one, an online survey will be carried out to assess the type of use that young Brazilians make of digital technologies and possible associations between anxiety symptoms and quality of life. The sample in this study will be of convenience and will be composed of 100 young people from 18 to 24 years old. The second aims to culturally adapt an intervention for anxiety symptoms based on cognitive-behavioral therapy principles, that already exist, developed by an expertise laboratory at the University of Linköping, Sweden. The translation of the intervention will be carried out by three experts in the field. After the translation, the application will be carried out in 10 pilot users and, after the definition of the final translated instrument, a focus group (FG) with 10 participants from the target population will be developed, all from a convenience sample accessed online. As a third study, a pilot randomized clinical trial will be carried out, with 100 young people aged 18 to 24 years, to evaluate the effectiveness of the adapted intervention in reducing anxiety symptoms and aspects of the user experience related to adherence. Participants will be recruited through a non-probabilistic convenience sample and data collection will be done online. A pre and post test will be carried out to assess anxiety symptoms, quality of life and program evaluation. Therefore, it is expected to better understand the Brazilian reality of youth in relation to the use of technologies and contribute to overcoming barriers through the initial implementation of a evidence based self-guided online intervention. In addition, it is also expected that it will be possible to expand knowledge about relevant aspects associated with adherence to this type of intervention.

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