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Review by expert Michael Knable, DO, DFAPA

Pros

  • Based on sound scientific evidence for efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
  • Condenses many aspects of CBT into an easy to use mobile app.
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Requires tolerance for text-based, conceptual learning rather than game-based, experiential learning.
  • Requires significant personal motivation and time investment for benefit.

 

Description

MoodKit is a smartphone app for use with iOS 7.1 or later on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app provides tools for managing depressed mood, anxiety and stress that are built upon principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The app was first launched in 2011 and the current version (3.0) was launched in June 2015. The app has a clearly described privacy policy, in which users may elect not to allow third party companies (such as Google analytics) to collect aggregated, anonymous data. The app developer does not collect personal data from app users. There is a users’ community on Facebook and the app allows for the option of password protection and automatic reminders.

Appropriateness of Content

MoodKit is divided into four main sections: Activities, Thoughts, Mood and Journal. In the Activities section, the user can select individual goals related to the following categories: Productivity, Social, Enjoyment, Physical and Healthy Habits. Each category has a number of different activities that the user can select to compose a list of favorites, or they can be chosen randomly. The user is asked to commit to completing the activities by a certain date and monitors the timeliness and degree of success with each goal. The various activities are developed from several evidence based practices designed to help with mood, stress management and overall wellness. These practices include: physical fitness techniques, time-management techniques, mindfulness techniques, suggestions for proper nutrition, and techniques for improving social skills.

In the Thoughts section, the user is asked to briefly describe stressful situations and their reactions to the event. They can then compare their responses to a number of “thought distortions” in the Thought Checker subsection. These distorted thought categories and well accepted in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy world.

In the Mood section, the user is asked to give an overall rating of mood, which can be done several times per day. In the Journal section, the user can write freestanding journal entries, or collate notes that were appended to Activities, Thought Checker sessions or Mood Tracker ratings.

Additional areas of advice and goal setting are contained in a section called Thrive Tips.

Ease of Use and User Experience

Each section of the app is easy to use and quite intuitive. Each section is also accompanied by an easy to access set of instructions. The presentation is clear and attractive, although it relies almost exclusively on text based information.

Scientific Basis

There is an extensive literature on the effectiveness of CBT for depression and anxiety, but there are no published studies regarding the use of this particular app. Web-based CBT programs which have been studied in greater detail, such as MoodGym, are quite similar in content and format to MoodKit. However, MoodKit has the distinct advantage of boiling down the program into an easy to use mobile platform.

Cost

MoodKit currently costs $4.99 on the Apple app store.

MARS rating (out of 5 maximum)

Engagement 4.0
Functionality 4.75
Aesthetics 4.33
Information 3.14

Overall 4.06

Find out more about the MARS scale

Reviewed October 2015

Product summary