Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

What's up? Creating an early-warning for children and adolescents with major depression

Major depression is a common and severe mental illness in childhood and adolescence (early-onset) as well as in adulthood. Late treatment of the early-onset depression is associated with a high tendency to recurrence, chronicity and suicidal behaviour in youth but also later in life. Although effective prevention and therapy programmes exist, the need for child and adolescent psychiatric care remains high. A possible explanation is that the core problem has not been solved yet: recognizing a beginning depression before it becomes manifest.

The aim of the long-term project is to create a mobile app that combines an early-warning system and support system for depressive disorders in childhood and adolescence. For this purpose, various psychophysiological and behavioral data are evaluated, which are collected by means of mobile devices close to the body. The results of the evaluation shall be used for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes, e.g. by displaying intervention suggestions on the user's smartphone.

In the first step, an app for evaluating language features in WhatsApp chat protocols will be developed. Subsequently the functionality, reliability and validity of the app will be tested in a pilot study. Moreover, we aim to analyze differences in the user behaviour of WhatsApp (e. g. duration of use, text length) between the clinical and control group.

Project leadership: Dipl.-Psych. Stefan Lüttke
Funding: Crowdfunding
Collaborationsr: Universität Würzburg (Dr. M. Seufert, Anika Schwind), Universität Leipzig (Prof. Dr. J. Schmitz)