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Table 3 Review articles on quality and effectiveness of apps in English related to mental health

From: Smartphones in mental health: a critical review of background issues, current status and future concerns

CategorySourceCountry of searchDates of searchNumber apps from searchNumber apps evaluated, downloaded, includedConclusionStudy
Medication adherenceGoogle Play, Apple App storeUKApr 20155888805 evaluated;
681 included;
420 free downloaded
“the vast majority of current adherence app offerings on repositories lack any evidence base of effectiveness”Ahmed et al. (2018)
Prevent driving after drinkingGoogle Play, Apple App storeAustraliaJun 2015290770 evaluated;
58 included.
“Most apps for drink driving prevention are not engaging, and none have as yet been tested in trials to determine their effectiveness in reducing drink driving behavior”Wilson et al. (2016)
Suicide preventionGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeAustraliaUnspecified1271856 evaluated
123 downloaded;
49 included.
“Clinicians should be wary in recommending apps, especially as potentially harmful content can be presented as helpful”Larsen et al. (2016a)
Crystal methamphetamineGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeAustraliaApr 201722051983 evaluated;
30 downloaded;
18 included.
“This study demonstrates a shortage of high-quality educational and engaging smartphone apps specifically related to methamphetamine”Chapman et al. (2018)
Sleep self-managementGoogle Play, Apple iTunes store, Amazon Appstore, Microsoft AppstoreUSApr 201724311981 evaluated;
148 downloaded;
73 included.
“few apps meet prespecified criteria for quality, content, and functionality for sleep self-management. Despite the rapid evolution of sleep self-management apps, lack of validation studies is a significant concern that limits the clinical value of these apps”Choi et al. (2018)
Bipolar DisorderGoogle Play, Apple App storeAustraliaJul 2014571438 evaluated;
82 included.
“In general, the content of currently available apps for BD is not in line with practice guidelines or established self-management principles”Nicholas et al. (2015)
Depression - CBT or behavioral activation appsGoogle Play, Apple App store, literatureCanadaNov 2015310117 evaluated;
12 included.
“Despite the growing public demand, there is a concerning lack of appropriate CBT or BA apps, especially from a clinical and legal point of view”Huguet et al. (2016)
Attention and cognitive bias modification appsGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeSingaporeSept, 20179817 included.“only 1 commercial app had been evaluated in the published literature”Zhang et al. (2018)
Physical activityGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeUKOct, 2016400156 evaluated;
65 included.
“..there were substantial shortcomings in the areas of data safety and likelihood of effectiveness of the apps assessed”Bondaronek et al. (2018)
Social anxietyGoogle Play, Apple iTunes, Windows storeNew ZealandJune, 2016115473 identified
38 randomly included.
“none of the apps identified have had studies on their effectiveness published”Alyami et al. (2017)
AnxietyGoogle Play, Apple App storeEuropean app storesJan, 201750784404 evaluated;
73 downloaded;
52 included.
“there is a marked discrepancy between the wealth of commercially available apps, and the paucity of data regarding their efficacy and effectiveness”Sucala et al. (2017)
Smoking cessation for those with psychosisGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeUSJuly, 2013766100 evaluated;
73 included,
9 further analyzed.
“ongoing poor quality of most apps”. “smoking cessation apps may be inaccessible or ineffective for most smokers with psychotic disorders”Ferron et al. (2017)
Weight managementGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeAustraliaAug, 2014800 most popular55 evaluated;
28 included.
“Overall, the most popular commercial apps for weight management are suboptimal in quality, given the inadequate scientific coverage and accuracy of weight-related information…”Chen et al. (2015)
InsomniaGoogle Play, Apple iTunes storeUSNov, 201635512 included.“despite the hundreds of apps available,…few are adherent to the evidence-based skills and strategies that have been shown effective in managing insomnia”Yu et al. (2019)