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Positive Activity Jackpot is most suitable for adults struggling with depression to teach them skills and help them engage in pleasant activities. There are two main features of the app: “Jackpot” or “Find Something Nearby.” “Jackpot” allows the user to choose from various categories of activities (i.e. water activities, shopping, thoughts, travel) and pull a slot-machine style lever to provide a specific suggestion. “Find Something Nearby” uses “pleasant event scheduling” (PES) to suggest nearby activities ranging from a 0 to 20-mile radius. Positive Activity Jackpot allows for either tailored or general suggestions for a personalized event plan conducted in groups or alone. The app determines personal preference of activities through analysis of the user’s subjective ratings, allowing for future suggestions to be more applicable for everyone. Positive Activity Jackpot also allows for social media posting to linked feeds such as Facebook or Twitter to broadcast one’s chosen activity.

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Overall Score: 3.20/5.00

Research base 1/3
Research support 2/2
Specificity of proposed intervention 2/3
Number of consumer ratings 3/3
Product advisory support 1/1
Software support 0/2

Total 9/14

date of rating:  June 2017

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More Information

Available for: Android
Company Name: National Center for Telehealth & Technology
Classification (Type of Treatment): Cognitive Behavioral Principles (incorporating Pleasant Event Scheduling)
Targeted conditions: Depression
Target demographics: Adults (developed for Veterans, but not specific to military personnel)
Special provider necessary: No
Languages Available in: English
Where to get it: Google Play

Research on this App

No direct studies of the efficacy of Positive Activity Jackpot exist. The strategies, however, are based on the concepts underlying behavioral activation, namely, that engaging in naturally reinforcing activities is an effective treatment strategy to overcome depression (Lewinsohn, 1974). Pleasant event scheduling (PES) has also been found to be a useful strategy to improve emotion regulation (Linehan, 1993). Positive Activity Jackpot, itself, has been used in conjunction with other treatment programs to measure increases in engaging in social activities (Roy & Costanzo, 2016). Details regarding its development as well as qualitative evaluations of aesthetics and usage have also been reported (Edwards-Stewart, 2012). Similar apps have been evaluated with efforts to improve the user experience (Sliwinski, Katsikitis, & Jones, 2015) and positive event scheduling is a common treatment strategy in cognitive-behavioral therapy generally and apps more specifically.

Edwards-Stewart, A. (2012). Using technology to enhance empirically supported psychological treatments: Positive activity jackpot. Med Psychol, 60, 60-6.

Lewinsohn, P. M. (1974). A behavioral approach to depression. Essential papers on depression, 150-172.

Linehan, M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, 1st Edition. Guilford Press.

Roy, M. J., & Costanzo, M. A. (2016). GETSmart: Guided Education and Training via Smart Phones to Promote Resilience. Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine 2015: Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Medical Simulation and Experiential Interface, 219, 123.

Sliwinski, J., Katsikitis, M., & Jones, C. M. (2015, September). Mindful Gaming: How Digital Games Can Improve Mindfulness. In Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 167-184). Springer International Publishing.