Helping youth implement positive coping strategies – Using an App: An experience sampling study and mobile intervention

Reach is a youth program in Victoria, Australia, that helps youth to live thriving lives. One way they do this is by teaching them coping strategies for stressful situations in daily life. The organization did not know if its program was effective, so they turned to iPod-based experience sampling.

In order to use iPods for experience sampling, Reach created a smartphone app, Wazzup. This app would ask students questions about their life, if using a strategy was necessary, and how well (or if) the student implemented the strategy.

For seven days, once in the morning and evening, students were asked questions about:

Affect and Activation: Unpleasant to pleasant sliding scale, Passive to active sliding scale

Event valence: “What’s the main thing that’s happened to you since you last responded? (Something unpleasant happened. Something nice happened.)

Event type: “What was the event mainly related to? (Close friend(s), Family, Health and body, Peer(s)/schoolmate(s), School/schoolwork, Work/non-school)

Positive and negative affect: Assessed 30 emotions on a sliding scale.

Strategy use: (Out of 18) Youth selected whether they were choosing a “positive” (healthy) or “negative” (unhealthy) strategy of dealing with a stressful situation. Then, they selected the specific strategy they used from a dropdown box, including options such as, “I imagined the situation from someone else’s perspective,” “I cherished the moment,” or “I tried to avoid the situation.

At the end of the study, they observed how students learned, and changed their strategies over time. In addition, they were able to track affect and activation over time, as well. The researchers plan to use the app to help them learn about youth, and have positive impacts on their lives.


Chin, T., Rickard, N. S., & Vella-Brodrick, D. A. (2016). Development and feasibility of a mobile experience sampling application for tracking program implementation in youth well-being programs. Psychology of Well-Being,6(1), 1-12.


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