Ecological momentary assessment for chronic pain in fibromyalgia using a smartphone: A randomized crossover study
Daily diaries are a useful way of measuring fluctuations in pain-related symptoms. However, traditional diaries do not assure the gathering of data in real time, not solving the problem of retrospective assessment. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) by means of electronic diaries helps to improve repeated assessment. However, it is important to test its feasibility in specific populations in order to reach a wider number of people who could benefit from these procedures.
The present study compares the compliance and acceptability of an electronic diary running on a smartphone using a crossover design for a sample with a specific pain condition, fibromyalgia and low familiarity with technology. Forty-seven participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (1) paper diary – smartphone diary and (2) smartphone diary – paper diary, using each assessment method for 1 week.
The findings of this study showed that the smartphone diary made it possible to gather more accurate and complete ratings. Besides, this method was well accepted by a sample of patients with fibromyalgia referred by a public hospital, with an important proportion of participants with low level of education and low familiarity with technology.
The findings of this study support the use of smartphones for EMA even in specific populations with a specific pain condition, fibromyalgia and with low familiarity with technology. These methods could help clinicians and researchers to gather more accurate ratings of relevant pain-related variables even in populations with low familiarity with technology.
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ABSTRACT: Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability and robustness; or, then, whether virtues exist. We make the case that these limitations can be addressed by aggregating repeated, cross-situational assessments of environmental, psychological and physiological variables within everyday life-a form of assessment often called ecological momentary assessment (EMA, or experience sampling). We, then, examine how advances in smartphone application (app) technology, and their mass adoption, make these mobile devices an unprecedented vehicle for EMA and, thus, the psychological study of virtue. We, additionally, examine how smartphones might be used for virtue development by promoting changes in thought and behavior within daily life; a technique often called ecological momentary intervention (EMI). While EMA/I have become widely employed since the 1980s for the purposes of understanding and promoting change amongst clinical populations, few EMA/I studies have been devoted to understanding or promoting virtues within non-clinical populations. Further, most EMA/I studies have relied on journaling, PDAs, phone calls and/or text messaging systems. We explore how smartphone app technology provides a means of making EMA a more robust psychological method, EMI a more robust way of promoting positive change, and, as a result, opens up new possibilities for studying and promoting virtues.Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 1(6). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00481 · 2.80 Impact Factor