In psychotherapy research, the measurement of treatment processes and outcome are predominantly based on self-reports . However, given new technological developments, other potential sources can be considered to improve measurements . In a feasibility study, we examined whether Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) using digital phenotyping (stress level) can be a valuable tool to investigate change processes during cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Seven outpatients undergoing psychological treatment were assessed using EMA . Continuous stress levels (heart rate variability) were assessed via fitness trackers (Garmin) every 3 min over a 2-week time period (6,720 measurements per patient). Time-varying change point autoregressive (TVCP-AR) models were employed to detect both gradual and abrupt changes in stress levels . Results for seven case examples indicate differential patterns of change processes in stress . More precisely, inertia of stress level changed gradually over time in one of the participants, whereas the other participants showed both gradual and abrupt changes . This feasibility study demonstrates that intensive longitudinal assessments enriched by digitally assessed stress levels have the potential to investigate intra- and interindividual differences in treatment change processes and their relations to treatment outcome . Further, implementation issues and implications for future research and developments using digital phenotyping are discussed.
Index: abrupt changes, digital phenotyping, ecological momentary assessments, outcome monitoring, process and outcome research