Improving adherence to online and mobile technologies for people with psychosis: a systematic review of new potential predictors of adherence.

Zhimin He, Clare Killikelly, Clare Reeder, Til Wykes

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Despite the boom in new technologically based interventions for people with psychosis, recent studies suggest medium to low rates of adherence to these types of interventions. The benefits will be limited if only a minority of service users adhere and engage; if specific predictors of adherence can be identified then technologies can be adapted to increase the service user benefits.

The study aimed to present a systematic review of rates of adherence, dropout, and approaches to analyzing adherence to newly developed mobile and Web-based interventions for people with psychosis. Specific predictors of adherence were also explored.

Using keywords (Internet or online or Web-based or website or mobile) AND (bipolar disorder or manic depression or manic depressive illness or manic-depressive psychosis or psychosis or schizophr* or psychotic), the following databases were searched: OVID including MedLine, EMBASE and PsychInfo, Pubmed and Web of Science. The objectives and inclusion criteria for suitable studies were defined following PICOS (population: people with psychosis; intervention: mobile or Internet-based technology; comparison group: no comparison group specified; outcomes: measures of adherence; study design: randomized controlled trials (RCT), feasibility studies, and observational studies) criteria. In addition to measurement and analysis of adherence, two theoretically proposed predictors of adherence were examined: (1) level of support from a clinician or researcher throughout the study, and (2) level of service user involvement in the app or intervention development. We provide a narrative synthesis of the findings and followed the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for reporting systematic reviews.

Of the 20 studies that reported a measure of adherence and a rate of dropout, 5 of these conducted statistical analyses to determine predictors of dropout, 6 analyzed the effects of specific adherence predictors (eg, symptom severity or type of technological interface) on the effects of the intervention, 4 administered poststudy feedback questionnaires to assess continued use of the intervention, and 2 studies evaluated the effects of different types of interventions on adherence. Overall, the percentage of participants adhering to interventions ranged from 28-100% with a mean of 83%. Adherence was greater in studies with higher levels of social support and service user involvement in the development of the intervention. Studies of shorter duration also had higher rates of adherence.

Adherence to mobile and Web-based interventions was robust across most studies. Although 2 studies found specific predictors of nonadherence (male gender and younger age), most did not specifically analyze predictors. The duration of the study may be an important predictor of adherence. Future studies should consider reporting a universal measure of adherence and aim to conduct complex analyses on predictors of adherence such as level of social presence and service user involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017


  • schizophrenia
  • mHealth
  • patient experience
  • systematic review

Cite this