Wearable devices as adjuncts in the treatment of anxiety-related symptoms: A narrative review of five device modalities and implications for clinical practice

Hugh Hunkin, Daniel L. King, Ian T. Zajac

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are a major public health problem, and a range of wearable technological devices for addressing the somatic symptoms of anxiety are increasingly available. This narrative review summarizes five distinct modalities underlying wearable devices and investigates clinical implications for managing clients using such devices. The literature suggests potential benefits of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback devices, while other modalities (aided meditation, false physiological feedback, electrodermal biofeedback, and respiration biofeedback) are less supported. High-quality research on the efficacy of such devices is also lacking, particularly in clinical populations. Wearables could offer potential benefits, but may be contraindicated in some cases. Collaborative use of clinical evaluation tools, such as the American Psychiatric Association's application evaluation model, can aid in shared decision-making about device use.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12290
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • anxiety disorders
  • biofeedback
  • clinical decision-making
  • neurofeedback
  • wearable electronic devices

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