Clinical Trial

App for Depression Symptom Self-Management in Students

Study Description

Depression, Trauma, and Health: Efficacy of an mHealth App for Symptom Self-Management in College Students

The study is designed to examine the efficacy of a mobile application heart rate variability biofeedback exercise on heart rate variability and depression. The main objective of this study is to assess the Breather app manufactured by Happify, Inc., as a tool for improving levels of depression and heart rate variability in college students.Happifya"c Breather is a mobile app that provides users with HRV biofeedback aimed at improving mental health and wellness. Breather uses HRV sensors to help users control breathing, leading to calm and relaxation. The more relaxed users are, the more visually reinforcing scene elements will appear in the underwater environment of the game. Breather uses an optical sensor in a smartphone camera. During app use, users are cued by the app to breathe at 6 cycles/minute using a breath pacer. When the smartphone camera flash is illuminated, color signal changes are measured from the fingertip pressed to the camera lens. The study population is college students who score in the clinical range on the PHQ-9. Secondary outcomes include anxiety, somatoform symptoms, and app adherence.


Locations Selected Location


No pharmaceutical medication involved No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Device - Happify Breather App

Subjects in the intervention group will be cued to breathe at 6 breaths per minute and will receive real time heart rate variability biofeedback. As they increase HRV, screen elements will become more visually appealing.

Additional Information

Official Study Title

Depression, Trauma, and Health (DepTH): Efficacy of an mHealth App for Symptom Self-Management in College Students

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