A Smartphone App for Attentional Bias Retraining in Smokers: Mixed Methods Pilot Study

Choo, Carol C., Tan, Yi Zhuang, and Zhang, Melvyn W.B. (2022) A Smartphone App for Attentional Bias Retraining in Smokers: Mixed Methods Pilot Study. JMIR Formative Research, 6 (1). e22582.

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Background: Smoking is a global health threat. Attentional bias influences smoking behaviors. Although attentional bias retraining has shown benefits and recent advances in technology suggest that attentional bias retraining can be delivered via smartphone apps, there is a paucity of research on this topic. Objective: This study aims to address this gap by exploring the use of attentional bias retraining via a novel smartphone app using a mixed methods pilot study. In the quantitative phase, it is hypothesized that participants in the training group who undertake attentional bias retraining via the app should have decreased levels of attentional bias, subjective craving, and smoking frequency, compared with those in the control group who do not undertake attentional bias retraining. The qualitative phase explores how the participants perceive and experience the novel app. Methods: In all, 10 adult smokers (3 females and 7 males) between the ages of 26 and 56 years (mean 34.4 years, SD 9.97 years) were recruited. The participants were randomly allocated to the training and control groups. In weeks 1 and 3, participants from both groups attempted the standard visual probe task and rated their smoking frequency and subjective craving. In week 2, the participants in the training group attempted the modified visual probe task. After week 3, participants from both groups were interviewed about their views and experiences of the novel app. Results: The results of the quantitative analysis did not support this study’s hypothesis. The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results yielded 5 themes: ease, helpfulness, unhelpful aspects, barriers, and refinement. Conclusions: Findings from the qualitative study were consistent with those from previous studies on health-related smartphone apps. The qualitative results were helpful in understanding the user perspectives and experiences of the novel app, indicating that future research in this innovative area is necessary.

Item ID: 74783
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2561-326X
Keywords: Attentional bias retraining, Mixed methods, Mobile phone, Smartphone app, Smoking
Copyright Information: ©Carol C Choo, Yi Zhuang Tan, Melvyn W B Zhang. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (https://formative.jmir.org), 03.01.2022. 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 JMIR Formative Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://formative.jmir.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2022 07:33
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420605 Preventative health care @ 80%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200401 Behaviour and health @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200412 Preventive medicine @ 50%
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