Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0582-2711

Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Ashwini Tiwari, PhD

Abstract

Emerging data indicates an exacerbated risk for child maltreatment (CM) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, considering approaches to augment evidence-based CM prevention programs that are easily dissemenable, and have the potential to enhance parent engagement, retention, and skill uptake, this study assesses the feasibility of augmenting SafeCare, an evidence-based program for the prevention of child physical abuse and neglect, with a mobile health application, JoyPop.

JoyPop™ is a mobile health app designed to assist in emotion regulation among users. Emotional regulation can be an important augmentation to CM prevention programs to enhance the overall emotional climate of the families involved.

168 SafeCare® providers complete an online survey assessing attitudes towards technology, especially mobile health apps, and its use in practice and service delivery. A subsample of the SafeCare® providers (N=12) were invited to complete a week-long trial of, JoyPop™ and a follow up qualitative interview.

The majority of providers believed that mobile health apps could improve client outcomes (n=108, 72.2%) and that these apps may promote good intervention practice (n=106, 72.6%). Providers who were interviewed indicated minimal use of mobile health apps in practice with SafeCare® but noted the ease of accessibility to information and support as a major benefit. When asked specifically about JoyPop™, providers identified strengths within the apps’ features, especially in regard to the deep breathing and journaling, but noted a need for more advanced content related to programmatic target skills to encourage effective and meaningful use in practice.

SafeCare® providers show a willingness to adapt to technological augmentations relevant to the delivery of CM prevention services. For effective uptake, agencies should offer ample technological support to both providers and clients, and the mobile app technology should be relevant and program specific. These findings encourage further exploration of currently available mobile health apps as a method of supplementing evidence-based home-visiting parenting program delivery.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.57709/28782633

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