Acceptance of internet- and mobile-based mental health promotion in university students

  • F. Kählke
  • H. Baumeister
  • R. Auerbach
  • R. Bruffaerts
  • P. Mortier
  • P. Cuijpers
  • H. Riper
  • M. Berking
  • R. Kessler
  • D.D. Ebert


Background:The College years are a peak age period for the first onset of mental disorders (MD). Internet- and mobile based interventions (IMIs) have shown to be effective in reducing risk behavior and preventing MD onset. However, the effects of such interventions on population level depends on the utilization in the target group. Hence, it is crucial to evaluate acceptance of and attitudes towards such approaches to develop strategies to overcome barriers of utilization. Methods: The present study examines acceptance and predictors of acceptance in a representative sample of German first year university students and is part of an ongoing multicenter, prospective cohort study. Propensity scores are used to weight for non-response. Acceptance of IMIs is assessed for different target guidance forms and target-conditions and compared to acceptance of other intervention forms (i.e.face-to-face individual- and group counseling, within-/outside of the university). Findings: 5.6%,28.1%,29.9% of N=1382 students would be interested to take part in pure self-help, guided self-help, respectively blended-(in combination with face-to-face sessions) IMIs. The most accepted types of interventions were procrastination (44.6%), followed by stress-management (43.8%), time-management (43.8%); sleep (37.8%); test-anxiety (34.4%); resilience (33.6%), social-anxiety(32.2%), depression(31.8%); perfectionism (23.2%); body-dissatisfaction (20.2%); problematic internet-use(16.8%). Details on predictors (i.e, 12-months/lifetime prevalence of MDs, previous help seeking behavior ao.), barriers of acceptance (i.e. low outcome expectancies, low perceived risk) and comparisons to other forms of interventions will be presented. Discussion: IMIs are an acceptable form of mental health promotion for many college students, and should implemented in a guided und not unguided self-help format.