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Gaining consensus on emotional wellbeing themes and preferences for digital intervention type and content to support the mental health of young people with long-term health conditions: a Delphi study

Brown, J., Cox, L., Mulligan, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-6003-3029 , Wilson, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-6445-654X, Heys, M., Livermore, P., Gray, S. & Bogosian, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1244-6387 (2024). Gaining consensus on emotional wellbeing themes and preferences for digital intervention type and content to support the mental health of young people with long-term health conditions: a Delphi study. Health Expectations, 27(2), article number e14025. doi: 10.1111/hex.14025


Background: Young people (YP) with long-term conditions (LTCs) are at greater risk of psychological distress than those without LTCs. Despite this, there is a scarcity of quality digital interventions designed to help improve mental well-being in this population The aim of this study was to determine what YP, parents and health professionals preferred for future interventions.

Methods: 26 YP with asthma, diabetes and/or epilepsy (the 3 most common LTCs in YP), 23 parents of YP with LTCs and 10 health professionals mainly in paediatric specialisms (total n= 59) took part in an online Delphi study to gain consensus (set at 75% agreement) on 4 questions across 3 rounds. Participants ordered psychological themes that may be experienced by YP with LTCs by importance and ranked digital intervention types and delivery modes by importance or usefulness. The most common results were reported if no consensus was reached by round 3.

Results: Participants preferred a mobile phone app (73% agreement) and a mixture of one-on-one and group support for an intervention (75% agreement). The two highest ranked psychological themes were anxiety (44%) and wanting to appear normal (38%), and the top intervention type was ‘general counselling’ (54% agreement).
Conclusion: There was a clear desire for an app to help with the psychological aspects of living with LTCs and for a combination of one-to-one and group intervention elements. Anxiety and wanting to appear ‘normal’ might be two closely linked psychological challenges that could be addressed by a single intervention.
Implications: The results will be important to consider for a future intervention, although further consultation will be needed for app development.

Patient or Public Contribution: 2 YP with a LTC provided feedback on the study protocol including the aims and procedures of the project. Another 6 YP with LTCs were consulted on an early draft of the study questionnaire (the 4 questions) which was subsequently revised. Once the project began, a PPI group consisting of two young people with LTCs and one parent of a YP with a LTC gave feedback on the research process, lay report of the results and dissemination plan.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Mental wellbeing, young people with long-term conditions, digital interventions, Delphi method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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