Participants’ perspectives of weekly telephonic mood monitoring in South Africa : a feasibility study

Van der Watt, A. S. J. ; Roos, T. ; Beyer, C. ; Seedat, S. (2018-02-22)

CITATION: Van Der Watt, A. S. J., et al. 2018. Participants’ perspectives of weekly telephonic mood monitoring in South Africa : a feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 4:56, doi:10.1186/s40814-018-0245-0.

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Background: Mood and anxiety disorders have a high lifetime prevalence, and their chronicity adds to the management burden of already scarce and strained mental health care resources, particularly in developing countries. Non-professional-assisted interventions and technology (such as weekly telephonic mood monitoring) could assist in the early identification of symptoms of relapse and hospitalization prevention. The present study aimed to determine participants’ perspectives and the feasibility of weekly telephonic mood monitoring in order to inform the development of the full study. Method: Semi-structured telephonic interviews (n = 37; 89.2% female; mean age = 33.1 years) were conducted as part of the full-scale feasibility study (N = 61; named the Bipolar Disorder Mood Monitoring (BDMM) Study). The BDMM Study was conducted to determine the viability of weekly telephonic mood monitoring, spanning 26 weeks and starting 1 week post-discharge. Frequency and descriptive statistical analyses (using SPSS version 24) were undertaken, and qualitative data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Results: This article presents the findings from the semi-structured interview section of the BDMM Study. Participants generally expressed positive experiences and perceptions of weekly telephonic mood monitoring, stating that they would advise others to also take part in weekly telephonic mood monitoring. Nonetheless, some participants did make suggestions for improvement of mood monitoring while others expressed negative experiences of weekly telephonic mood monitoring. Conclusion: The results of the semi-structured interviews of the BDMM Study indicated that participants perceived weekly telephonic mood monitoring to be helpful in lightening the burden of mood and anxiety disorders (e.g., having someone to talk to, providing insight into their disorders). Not only did it help them, but they also perceived mood monitoring to be potentially helpful to future participants. However, weekly mood monitoring was also burdensome in itself (including being too time consuming and having to answer questions when feeling down). Importantly, the findings highlighted that participants’ and researchers’ perceptions and experiences may not be congruent (especially in terms of therapeutic misconception). The current findings may inform researchers’ future approach to study design and participant relationships.

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