Feasibility Study Investigating the use of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for Online Positive Psychology Intervention Trials.
1University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
Background: Amazons’ Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is fast becoming a key tool for conducting online cross-sectional and experimental health research. This study evaluated the feasibility of employing MTurk for a longitudinal randomised controlled trial (RCT) using simple positive psychology activities aimed at increasing wellbeing and social relationships. Methods: Using Unipark software, 465 MTurk participants were randomised to one of four intervention conditions (or control) and were assessed on psychosocial and wellbeing measures at three time points (baseline, post intervention and one month). Participants were given online instructions on how to complete their assigned positive psychological activity. Findings: Mturk was found to be an inexpensive and speedy resource for recruiting participants and testing a longitudinal RCT paradigm. Although compliance to the assigned wellbeing enhancing activities was good, attrition rate was high at final follow-up (>50%). Discussion: MTurk is identified as a cost and time effective mechanism for conducting ehealth intervention research. However caution is urged on several grounds regarding high attrition rates and generalizability of samples.