Online intervention, ‘MePlusMe’, supporting mood, wellbeing, study skills, and everyday functioning in students in higher education: a protocol for a feasibility study

Papadatou-Pastou, M., Goozée, R., Barley, E. A., Haddad, M. & Tzotzoli, P. (2015). Online intervention, ‘MePlusMe’, supporting mood, wellbeing, study skills, and everyday functioning in students in higher education: a protocol for a feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 1(1), p. 34. doi: 10.1186/s40814-015-0029-8

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Abstract

Background: Psychological and study skill difficulties faced by students in higher education can lead to poor academic performance, sub-optimal mental health, reduced study satisfaction, and drop out from study. At the same time, higher education institutions’ support services are costly, oversubscribed, and struggle to meet demand whilst facing budget reductions. The purpose of the proposed study is to evaluate the acceptability of a new online intervention, MePlusMe, aimed at students in higher education facing mild to moderate psychological and/or study skill difficulties. The study will also assess the feasibility of proposed recruitment and outcome assessment protocols for a future trial of effectiveness. The system supports self-management strategies alongside ongoing monitoring facilitated by a messaging service, as well as featuring a built-in community of student users. It is based on current clinical guidelines for the management of common mental health problems, together with best practice from the educational field.

Methods/design: Two hundred and forty two students will be recruited to a within-subjects, repeated measures study conducted over 8 weeks. Self-report measures of depression and anxiety symptoms, mental wellbeing, academic self-efficacy, and everyday functioning will be collected at baseline, and then at 2, 4, and 8 weeks. During this period, students will have access to the intervention system. UK higher education institutions Bournemouth University and University of Warwick will participate in the study. Data on student satisfaction and engagement will also be collected. Study findings will help to determine the most appropriate primary outcome and the required sample size for a future trial.

Discussion: This study will evaluate the acceptability of an online intervention system for students facing psychological and/or study skill difficulties and will test recruitment procedures and outcome measures for a future trial of effectiveness. The system is designed to be implemented as a stand-alone service or a service complementary to student support services, which is accessible to the majority of students and effective in improving student experience at higher education institutions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online intervention, Mood, Mental health, Wellbeing, Depression, Anxiety, Study skills, Academic self-efficacy, MePlusMe, Higher education
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: School of Health Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13116

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