Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Smartphone mHealth Application Development

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Meyer

Second Advisor

Jennifer Tippett

Third Advisor

Nathaan Demers


mHealth, Application (app) development, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Functional contextualism, Technology


The ever-climbing rates of depression and mental illness in the United States require global adoption of creative solutions. Widespread utilization of smartphone mental health (mHealth) applications (apps) may serve as a powerful means of prevention by decreasing overall burdens on our mental health systems once clinical validation increases public and professional confidence in mHealth app utility. Although the popularity of mHealth apps has skyrocketed, the surge has not been met with a commensurate research response; the mHealth app world lacks clear guidelines on creating apps built on solid, empirically based clinical foundations. Given major gaps in clinical research underpinning mHealth apps, responsible future app development requires a nuanced understanding of mHealth apps through a clinical psychology lens to address issues with adoption and efficacy. This paper presents the results of an evaluation of a multipurpose mHealth app called LiveBetter; an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework was used to explore the psychological mechanisms by which the app effectuates mental health improvements. Additionally, recommendations have been included to guide app developers in incorporating facets of ACT therapy into future mHealth apps with the goal of bridging clinical expertise with technological reach and convenience. This paper also provides the results of a pilot study on the efficacy of the LiveBetter app (see Appendix A).

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


34 pgs

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