Attitudes toward e-mental health services in a community sample of adults: Online survey

March, Sonja and Day, Jamin and Ritchie, Gabrielle and Rowe, Arlen and Gough, Jeffrey and Hall, Tanya and Yuen, Chin Yan Jackie and Donovan, Caroline Leanne and Ireland, Michael (2018) Attitudes toward e-mental health services in a community sample of adults: Online survey. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20 (2). e59. ISSN 1438-8871

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Abstract

Background: Despite evidence that e-mental health services are effective, consumer preferences still appear to be in favor of face-to-face services. However, the theory of planned behavior (TPB) suggests that cognitive intentions are more proximal to behavior and thus may have a more direct influence on service use. Investigating individual characteristics that influence both preferences and intentions to use e-mental health services is important for better understanding factors that might impede or facilitate the use of these services.

Objective: This study explores predictors of preferences and intentions to access e-mental health services relative to face-to-face services. Five domains were investigated (demographics, technology factors, personality, psychopathology, and beliefs), identified from previous studies and informed by the Internet interventions model. We expected that more participants would report intentions to use e-mental health services relative to reported preferences for this type of support and that these 5 domains would be significantly associated with both intentions and preferences toward online services.

Methods: A mixed sample of 308 community members and university students was recruited through social media and the host institution in Australia. Ages ranged between 17 and 68 years, and 82.5% (254/308) were female. Respondents completed an online survey. Chi-square analysis and t tests were used to explore group differences, and logistic regression models were employed to explore factors predicting preferences and intentions.

Results: Most respondents (85.7%, 264/308) preferred face-to-face services over e-mental health services. Relative to preferences, a larger proportion of respondents (39.6%, 122/308) endorsed intentions to use e-mental health services if experiencing mental health difficulties in the future. In terms of the 5 predictor domains, 95% CIs of odds ratios (OR) derived from bootstrapped standard errors suggested that prior experience with online services significantly predicted intentions to use self-help (95% CI 2.08-16.24) and therapist-assisted (95% CI 1.71-11.90) online services in future. Being older predicted increased intentions to use therapist-assisted online services in future (95% CI 1.01-1.06), as did more confidence using computers and the Internet (95% CI 1.06-2.69). Technology confidence was also found to predict greater preference for online services versus face-to-face options (95% CI 1.24-4.82), whereas higher doctor-related locus of control, or LOC (95% CI 0.76-0.95), and extraversion (95% CI 0.88-1.00) were predictive of lower likelihood of preferring online services relative to face-to-face services.

Conclusions: Despite generally low reported preferences toward e-mental health services, intentions to access these services are higher, raising the question of how to best encourage translation of intentions into behavior (ie, actual use of programs). Strategies designed to ease people into new Internet-based mental health programs (to enhance confidence and familiarity) may be important for increasing the likelihood that they will return to such programs later.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: ©Sonja March, Jamin Day, Gabrielle Ritchie, Arlen Rowe, Jeffrey Gough, Tanya Hall, Chin Yan Jackie Yuen, Caroline Leanne Donovan, Michael Ireland. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 19.02.2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2018 05:51
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 00:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: eHealth; mHealth; consumer preference; attitude
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110319 Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy)
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services
C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2196/jmir.9109
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33736

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