Angewandte Psychologie

Activity-triggered e-diaries to investigate the mood-brightening effect of physical activity in patients with Depression or Anorexia

  Although empirical studies evidence that structured exercise reduces depressive symptomatology, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We use activity-triggered e-diaries pre and post a ten-week running program to investigate the within-subject dynamics between physical activity and mood in depressed students. In detail, physical activity is assessed and preprocessed on an accelerometer worn on the hip. Via Bluetooth low energy data are transmitted to a smartphone, triggering e-diary assessments if specified thresholds of activity or inactivity are surpassed. Methodologically, activity-triggered e-diaries maximize the within-subject variance in real-time. The study is run in cooperation with the Psychotherapeutic Counselling Centre, Karlsruhe. This methodological approach is also applied to investigate the relation between physical activity and mood in patients suffering from anorexia nervosa, a collaborative project headed by Prof. Zeeck (Medical Center at the University of Freiburg; funded by the Swiss Anorexia Nervosa Foundation).

m-Health for monitoring and coaching chronobiology and physical activity in ADHD

  To improve motivation for an exercise intervention and a bright light therapy, we developed an m-health system comprising treatment reminders and individualized feedback. In addition, the m-health system includes classical e-diary components, a treatment compliance monitoring and video clips for the exercise module. Technically, acceleration is sampled and processed on a wrist sensor. Using an energy efficient BLE connection, data are transmitted to a smartphone/server, processed in real time. Motivating feedback on performed activity is generated automatically and sent back to the participant´s smartphone. The study is part of the ongoing EU-funded project “Comorbid conditions of attention deficit hyperactive disorders” (CoCa) integrating epidemiological, genetic and experimental studies as well as clinical trials to study the comorbid conditions in ADHD.

For further information please have a look at the ‘MiND the gap’ blog which leads to interesting papers and current debates concerning ADHD, Aggression, Conduct Disorder, and Autism shared by the projects CoCA, Aggressotype and MiND.


GPS-triggered e-diaries, neuroimaging and genetics to unravel urbanicity risks for schizophrenia

Psychologie_GPS1.jpg Recent evidence suggests that the heightened prevalence of mental disorders in cities is caused by altered neural stress processing. To uncover the specific environmental sources of urban stress, we use innovative GPS-triggered e-diaries. In detail, GPS-triggered e-diaries continuously monitor participants’ locations. Changes are traced in real time on environmental components maps, covering traffic noise, population density etc., and trigger e-diary queries for affect and stress-reactivity. Methodologically, GPS-triggered e-diaries maximize the within-subject variance in real-time. The study is part of an ongoing longitudinal study (PEZ: Psychiatric-epidemiological center) combining GPS-triggered e-diaries with fMRI and biomarkers. PEZ is headed by Prof. Meyer-Lindenberg (CIMH Mannheim, Germany) and supported by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Württemberg.