Do young men and women differ in well-being apps usage? Findings from a randomised trial

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Introduction: The potential of mobile applications (apps) as a resource to support well-being in young people is hampered by low usage. Suggested reasons for this vary from technical issues to users' psychological and personal characteristics like gender, mood and perceptions on well-being. Objectives: To identify and understand predictive variables related to the use of well-being apps by young people in the context of the 'Online Wellbeing Centre' (OWC) Randomised Controlled Trial (a study assessing changes in well-being of young people who use well-being apps). Methods: A cross-sectional analysis using binary logistic regression was conducted, taking into account previous app usage of participants at baseline versus demographic, ecological momentary assessments, and well-being variables, of data collected in the OWC-RCT. To explore predictors further, follow-up post-RCT surveys were coded to better understand user's predisposition towards apps. Results: Mood (p < 0.006) and gender (p < 0.03) are significantly associated with the use of well-being apps. Female participants with elevated mood were more likely to use well-being apps before signing up into the study. Two themes were identified from participants at follow-up that related to the design of the app and engagement of the app user. Females were more likely to focus on the purpose of app, whereas males were more likely to focus on specific goals and features (e.g. tracking) offered by the app. Females were able to mention the link between well-being and app usage. Conclusion: Personal characteristics explain engagement with well-being apps, with mood and gender significant in the current sample. Further qualitative research may help identify other individual characteristics that explain why and how young people use well-being apps and the impact of these on a user's health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Apps
  • engagement
  • gender
  • online
  • predictors
  • well-being
  • young people


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