Development of an Online Well-Being Intervention for Young People: An Evaluation Protocol
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Background: Research has shown that improving well-being using positive mental health interventions can be useful for predicting and preventing mental illness. Implementing online interventions may be an effective way to reach young people, given their familiarity with technology. Objective: This study will assess the effectiveness of a website called the “Online Wellbeing Centre (OWC),” designed for the support and improvement of mental health and well-being in young Australians aged between 16 and 25 years. As the active component of the study, the OWC will introduce a self-guided app recommendation service called “The Toolbox: The best apps for your brain and body” developed by ReachOut.com. The Toolbox is a responsive website that serves as a personalized, ongoing recommendation service for technology-based tools and apps to improve well-being. It allows users to personalize their experience according to their individual needs. Methods: This study will be a two-arm, randomized controlled trial following a wait-list control design. The primary outcome will be changes in psychological well-being measured by the Mental Health Continuum Short Form. The secondary outcomes will be drawn from a subsample of participants and will include depression scores measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and quality of life measured by the Assessment of Quality of Life-four dimensions (AQOL-4D) index. Cost-effectiveness analysis will be conducted based on a primary outcome of cost per unique visit to the OWC. Utility-based outcomes will also be incorporated into the analysis allowing a secondary outcome to be cost per quality-adjusted life year gained (based on the AQOL-4D values). Resource use associated with both the intervention and control groups will be collected using a customized questionnaire. Online- and community-based recruitment strategies will be implemented, and the effectiveness of each approach will be analyzed. Participants will be recruited from the general Australian population and randomized online. The trial will last for 4 weeks. Results: Small but clinically significant increases in well-being symptoms are expected to be detected in the intervention group compared with the control group.
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