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Epsychology is a form of psychological intervention delivered via information and communication technology.[1] epsychology interventions have most commonly been applied in areas of health; examples are depression,[2] adherence to medication,[3] and smoking cessation.[4] Future applications of epsychology interventions are likely to become increasingly more common in information, organization, and management sciences (e.g. organizational change, conflict management and negotiation skills).

Recently, several meta-analyses have documented the effects of epsychology interventions.[5][6][7] In general, it appears that intensive theory-based interventions that include multiple behaviour change techniques and modes of delivery (e.g. mobile phones and the Internet) are the most effective.[7] More specifically, interventions based on the theory of planned behaviour[8] and cognitive-behavioural therapy[5] seem to provide the most promising results. These findings should, however, be interpreted with caution as many research articles fail to report the theoretical underpinnings of epsychology interventions adequately.[9]

Business and commercialization[edit]

Lifestyle and non-communicable diseases, such as excessive alcohol consumption, depression, and physical inactivity, are the leading causes of morbidity and premature mortality.[10] Thus, there is a great potential for utilizing epsychology to reach out and deliver prevention and treatment to the public by means of information technology. Information technology has a high scalability and given the usage and population statistics on, for example, Internet technology,[11] researchers argue that we[who?] simply cannot afford to ignore information technology as a viable approach to public health.[12]

Among the first companies to take advantage of the new technological opportunities combined with state-of-the-art psychological research were Health Media in the US (later acquired by Johnson & Johnson) and the privately held Changetech AS in Norway.[citation needed] Epsychology interventions are considered a supplement to existing treatments rather than a substitute, although such interventions can be used as a stand-alone treatment given that they are more cost-effective than standard treatment.

Pharmaceutical companies Janssen-Cilag and Novartis[13] were also early out with patient-support programs that came with the patients' medication. The purpose in such programs is primarily to help patients take their medication as prescribed. A lack of medical compliance is a serious health problem even among patients diagnosed with severe and potentially fatal diseases such as cancer[14] or HIV/AIDS.[15] In fact, in one study about 70% of hospital visits for adverse drug reactions were caused by inadequate medical compliance.[16] Although patient-support programs may lack in theoretical orientation, it is clear that they try to help patients manage an inherent psychological problem.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kraft, P., Drozd, F. & Olsen, E. (2009). "ePsychology: Designing theory-based health promotion interventions". Communications of the Association of Information Systems, 24, 399–426.
  2. ^ Andersson, G. & Kaldo, V. (2004). "Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for tinnitus". Journal of Clinical Psychology/In Session, 60, 171–178.
  3. ^ Ross, S.E., Moore, L.A., Earnest, M.A., Wittevrongel, L. & Lin, C.T. (2004). "Providing a web-based online medical record with electronic communication capabilities to patients with congestive heart failure: Randomized trial". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 6: e12.
  4. ^ Brendryen, H., Drozd, F. & Kraft, P. (2008). "A digital smoking cessation program delivered through internet and cell phone without nicotine replacement (Happy Ending): Randomized controlled trial". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10: e51.
  5. ^ a b Barak, A., Hen, L., Boniel-Nissim, M. & Shapira, N. (2008). "A comprehensive review and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions". Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26, 109–160.
  6. ^ Portnoy, D.B., Lori, A.J., Sheldon, S., Johnson, B.T. & Carey, M.P. (2008). "Computer-delivered interventions for health promotion and behavioral risk reduction: A meta-analysis of 75 randomized controlled trials, 1988–2007". Preventive Medicine, 47, 3–16.
  7. ^ a b Webb, T.L., Joseph, J., Yardley, L. & Michie, S. (2010). "Using the Internet to promote health behavior change: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of theoretical basis, use of behavior change techniques, and mode of delivery on efficacy". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(1): e4.
  8. ^ Ajzen, I. (1991). "The theory of planned behaviour". Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.
  9. ^ Walters, S.T., Wright, J.A. & Shegog, R. (2006). "A review of computer and Internet-based interventions for smoking behavior". Addictive Behaviors, 31, 264–277.
  10. ^ World Health Organization (2002). The world health report 2002: Reducing risks, promoting healthy life. Geneva, Switzerland.
  11. ^ Miniwatts Marketing Group (2009). World Internet users and population stats: Internet world stats 30 September 2009. From: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  12. ^ Griffiths, M. (2005). "Online therapy for addictive behaviours". CyberPsychology & Behaviour, 8, 555–561.
  13. ^ Yglesias, Matthew. "How nagging text messages can make you healthier and richer. - Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  14. ^ Atkins, L. & Fallowfield, L. (2006). "Intentional and non-intentional non-adherence to medication amongst breast cancer patients". European Journal of Cancer, 42, 2271–2276.
  15. ^ Stephenson, J. (1999). "AIDS researchers target poor adherence". Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 1069.
  16. ^ Senst, B.L., Achusim, L.E., Genest, R.P., Cosentino, L.A., Ford, C.C. et al. (2001). "Practical approach to determining costs and frequency of adverse drug events in a health care network". American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 58, 1126–1132.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andersson, G., Bergström, J., Holländare, Carlbring, P., Kaldo, V. & Ekselius, L. (2005). "Internet-based self-help for depression: Randomised controlled trial". British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, 456–461.
  • Brendryen, H. & Kraft, P. (2008). "Happy Ending: A randomized controlled trial of a digital multi-media smoking cessation intervention". Addiction, 103, 478–484.
  • Chiauzzi, E., Green, T.C., Lord, S., Thum, C. & Goldstein, M. (2005). "My Student Body: A high-risk drinking prevention web site for college students". Journal of American College Health, 53, 263–274.
  • Christensen, H., Griffiths, K.M. & Jorm, A.F. (2004). "Delivering interventions for depression by using the Internet: Randomised controlled trial". British Medical Journal, 328, 265–270.
  • Cox, D.J., Gonder-Frederick, L., Ritterband, L., Patel, K., Schächinger, H., et al., (2006). "Blood glucose awareness training: What is it, where is it, and where is it going?" Diabetes Spectrum, 19, 43–49.
  • Etter, J.-F. (2005). "Comparing the efficacy of two Internet-based, computer-tailored smoking cessation programs: A randomized trial". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 7: e2.
  • Hayward, L., MacGregor, A.D., Peck, D.F. & Wilkes, P. (2007). "The feasibility and effectiveness of computer-guided CBT (FearFighter) in a rural area". Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 35, 409–419.
  • Hester, R.K., Squires, D.D., & Delayne, H.D. (2005). "The Drinker's Check-up: 12-month outcomes of a controlled clinical trial of a stand-alone software program for problem drinkers". Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 28, 159–169.
  • Hurling, R., Catt, M., Boni, M.D., Fairley, B.W., Hurst, T., Murray, P., Richardson, A. & Sodhi, J.S. (2007). "Using internet and mobile phone technology to deliver an automated physical activity program: Randomized controlled trial". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 9: e7.
  • Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Olesen, P.J., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., et al. (2005). "Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD: A randomized, controlled trial". Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 177–186.
  • Lange, A., van de Ven, J.-P. & Schrieken, B. (2003). "Interapy: Treatment of post-traumatic stress via the Internet". Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 32, 110–124.
  • Linke, S., Brown, A., & Wallace, P. (2004). "Down your drink: a web-based intervention for people with excessive alcohol consumption". Alcohol and Alcoholism, 39, 29–32.
  • Steiner, J., Woodall, W.G., & Yeagley, J.A. (2005). The E-Chug: A randomized, controlled study of a web-based binge drinking intervention with college freshman. Poster Presentation, Society for Prevention Research. URL (12.11.2004): http://www.e-chug.com/docs/SPR_2005.ppt#256,1,Slide 1.
  • Swartz, L.H.G., Noell, J.W., Schroeder, S.W. & Ary, D.V. (2006). "A randomised control study of a fully automated internet based smoking cessation programme". Tobacco Control, 15, 7–12.