Mobile Applications for Behavioral Change: A Systematic Literature Review

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Introduction: Access to the internet and the proliferation of mobile phones has resulted in a rising trend of mobile apps developed for disease self-management. This use of mobile health technology (mHealth) is viewed as an effective way to induce health behavior change. Methods: The authors conducted an evidence review of articles published in PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, and ACM Digital Library between January 2015 and January 2020 that developed and evaluated mHealth apps informed by behavior change theory. Results: A total of 31 studies reviewed developed apps to encourage Physical Activity, Dietary Changes, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, and others. The prevalent way of applying behavior theory to apps was through Behavior Change Techniques (BCT) applied in 45% of the selected studies. Over 54% of the selected studies reported positive outcomes in inducing health behavior change. Conclusion: The results indicate that the use of behavior change theory to inform application design will result in statistically significant effects in improving health outcomes of a condition.

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