Formative research to inform development of a mobile application designed to help adolescents self-manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Tara Cousineau
22
Dec

Formative research to inform development of a mobile application designed to help adolescents self-manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) IBS is a complex, chronic, functional disorder that has no cure and is characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort and altered bowel habits; other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and bloating. Remarkably, there is little support available to adolescents to help them self-manage their symptoms. While self-management skills training for IBS has been shown to be effective in adults and older adolescents, in-person training is inaccessible for most. The main question posed in this feasibility study is: Can mobile technology, which adolescents use daily, be leveraged to promote self-management skills and positive coping? The research presented includes findings from in-depth interviews with families (twelve adolescents and six parents of younger adolescents) and twelve multidisciplinary health care providers, including gastroenterologists, nutritionists, and mental health providers. Results of the qualitative analysis are guiding the development of a mobile application designed to support adolescents as they build skills for self-managing IBS. As well as presenting the results of the qualitative analysis, we will present a demonstration of the mobile application which includes a “virtual coach”, driven by emotional modeling algorithms, intended to promote engagement and support health behavior change. A next phase of the research includes a pilot study with 24 adolescents using the application and acceptance testing with caregivers and providers.