Potential applications of mobile and wearable devices for psychological support during the COVID-19 pandemic: a review

Kawisara Ueafuea, Chiraphat Boonnag, Thapanun Sudhawiyangkul, Pitshaporn Leelaarporn, Ameen Gulistan, Wei Chen, Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay, Theerawit Wilaiprasitporn, Supanida Piyayotai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic that has been raging in 2020 does affect not only the physical state but also the mental health of the general population, particularly, that of the healthcare workers. Given the unprecedented large-scale impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technology has gained momentum as invaluable social interaction and health tracking tools in this time of great turmoil, in part due to the imposed state-wide mobilization limitations to mitigate the risk of infection that might arise from in-person socialization or hospitalization. Over the last five years, there has been a notable increase in the demand and usage of mobile and wearable devices as well as their adoption in studies of mental fitness. The purposes of this scoping review are to summarize evidence on the sweeping impact of COVID-19 on mental health as well as to evaluate the merits of the devices for remote psychological support. We conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted a significant toll on the mental health of the population, leading to an upsurge in reports of pathological stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is also clear that mobile and wearable devices (e.g., smartwatches and fitness trackers) are well placed for identifying and targeting individuals with these psychological burdens in need of intervention. However, we found that most of the previous studies used research-grade wearable devices that are difficult to afford for the normal consumer due to their high cost. Thus, the possibility of replacing the research-grade wearable devices with the current smartwatch is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2020

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