Epsychology is a form of psychological intervention delivered via information and communication technology. epsychology interventions have most commonly been applied in areas of health; examples are depression, adherence to medication, and smoking cessation. 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. 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. More specifically, interventions based on the theory of planned behaviour and cognitive-behavioural therapy 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.
Business and commercialization
Lifestyle and non-communicable diseases, such as excessive alcohol consumption, depression, and physical inactivity, are the leading causes of morbidity and premature mortality. 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, researchers argue that we[who?] simply cannot afford to ignore information technology as a viable approach to public health.
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. 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 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 or HIV/AIDS. In fact, in one study about 70% of hospital visits for adverse drug reactions were caused by inadequate medical compliance. Although patient-support programs may lack in theoretical orientation, it is clear that they try to help patients manage an inherent psychological problem.
- Kraft, P., Drozd, F. & Olsen, E. (2009). "ePsychology: Designing theory-based health promotion interventions". Communications of the Association of Information Systems, 24, 399–426.
- Andersson, G. & Kaldo, V. (2004). "Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for tinnitus". Journal of Clinical Psychology/In Session, 60, 171–178.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ajzen, I. (1991). "The theory of planned behaviour". Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.
- 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.
- World Health Organization (2002). The world health report 2002: Reducing risks, promoting healthy life. Geneva, Switzerland.
- 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.
- Griffiths, M. (2005). "Online therapy for addictive behaviours". CyberPsychology & Behaviour, 8, 555–561.
- Yglesias, Matthew. "How nagging text messages can make you healthier and richer. - Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
- Atkins, L. & Fallowfield, L. (2006). "Intentional and non-intentional non-adherence to medication amongst breast cancer patients". European Journal of Cancer, 42, 2271–2276.
- Stephenson, J. (1999). "AIDS researchers target poor adherence". Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 1069.
- 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.
- 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.