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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

Category Source Country of search Dates of search Number apps from search Number apps evaluated, downloaded, included Conclusion Study
Medication adherence Google Play, Apple App store UK Apr 2015 5888 805 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 drinking Google Play, Apple App store Australia Jun 2015 2907 70 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 prevention Google Play, Apple iTunes store Australia Unspecified 1271 856 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 methamphetamine Google Play, Apple iTunes store Australia Apr 2017 2205 1983 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-management Google Play, Apple iTunes store, Amazon Appstore, Microsoft Appstore US Apr 2017 2431 1981 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 Disorder Google Play, Apple App store Australia Jul 2014 571 438 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 apps Google Play, Apple App store, literature Canada Nov 2015 310 117 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 apps Google Play, Apple iTunes store Singapore Sept, 2017 98 17 included. “only 1 commercial app had been evaluated in the published literature” Zhang et al. (2018)
Physical activity Google Play, Apple iTunes store UK Oct, 2016 400 156 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 anxiety Google Play, Apple iTunes, Windows store New Zealand June, 2016 1154 73 identified
38 randomly included.
“none of the apps identified have had studies on their effectiveness published” Alyami et al. (2017)
Anxiety Google Play, Apple App store European app stores Jan, 2017 5078 4404 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 psychosis Google Play, Apple iTunes store US July, 2013 766 100 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 management Google Play, Apple iTunes store Australia Aug, 2014 800 most popular 55 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)
Insomnia Google Play, Apple iTunes store US Nov, 2016 355 12 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)