Access, utilization, and interest in mHealth applications among veterans receiving outpatient care for PTSD

Christopher R. Erbes, Rebecca Stinson, Eric Kuhn, Melissa Polusny, Jessica Urban, Julia Hoffman, Josef I. Ruzek, Carl Stepnowsky, Steven R. Thorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Mobile health (mHealth) refers to the use of mobile technology (e.g., smartphones) and software (i.e., applications) to facilitate or enhance health care. Several mHealth programs act as either stand-alone aids for Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or adjuncts to conventional psychotherapy approaches. Veterans enrolled in a Veterans Affairs outpatient treatment program for PTSD (N = 188) completed anonymous questionnaires that assessed Veterans' access to mHealth-capable devices and their utilization of and interest in mHealth programs for PTSD. The majority of respondents (n = 142, 76%) reported having access to a cell phone or tablet capable of running applications, but only a small group (n = 18) reported use of existing mHealth programs for PTSD. Age significantly predicted ownership of mHealth devices, but not utilization or interest in mHealth applications among device owners. Around 56% to 76% of respondents with access indicated that they were interested in trying mHealth programs for such issues as anger management, sleep hygiene, and management of anxiety symptoms. Findings from this sample suggest that Veterans have adequate access to, and interest in, using mHealth applications to warrant continued development and evaluation of mobile applications for the treatment of PTSD and other mental health conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1222
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014

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