This Way Up
This Way Up is a web-based program that provides information and skills for overcoming anxiety and depression. This Way Up is based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Stress Check is a biofeedback based app aimed to help users monitor their stress levels. There is one function, to calculate the user’s stress rating by placing their finger in front of the camera, and an option of including a contextual note to help the user notice stress patterns or triggers. Users are then encouraged to do an activity aimed to maintain or reduce stress levels, however these activities are not available in the app. The app does not require an external attachment.
This review refers to the ‘Pro’ version, there is also an iTunes ‘Lite’ version. The only added features of Pro are unlimited storage and a sideways screen feature.
Available for: Android 2.2 or later, iOS 4.0 or later (iPhone, iPad Pro, iPod Touch)
Developer: Azumio Inc
Type of Treatment: Symptom tracker
Targeted Conditions: Stress and Anxiety
Target Audience: Adults
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: English
Get it on: Google Play, iTunes Lite Version, iTunes Pro Version
Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback training has good support as a way to manage and reduce stress symptoms (Goessl et al., 2017). Stress Check has not been investigated in an RCT, however an experiment tested a similar data collection method via an optical pulse sensor or photoplethysmograph run from a smartphone. Heathers et al. (2013) tested 10 adults at rest, during attentional load, and mild stress, finding the reliability of data collected via smartphone had promising results. When comparing smartphone pulse rate variability (SPRV) with the traditional electrocardiograph (ECG), the accuracy of the SPRV was approximately that of the ECG, and could be used to track changes in stress levels over time.
We review apps against rating criteria developed by experts in the field. Some of those criteria are:
We look at the research supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.
We review privacy policies to see if key pieces of information about what happens with entered data are addressed.
We explore how fun, functional, easy-to-use, engaging, and interesting the technology is.
A professional in a relevant field downloads and uses the technology and writes a narrative review, highlighting pros & cons and some recommendations for use.