University of Oulu

Moilanen J, van Berkel N, Visuri A, Gadiraju U, van der Maden W and Hosio S (2023) Supporting mental health self-care discovery through a chatbot. Front. Digit. Health 5:1034724. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2023.1034724

Supporting mental health self-care discovery through a chatbot

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Author: Moilanen, Joonas1; van Berkel, Niels2; Visuri, Aku1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Computer Science, Human-Centered Computing, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
3Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Web Information Systems, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
4Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-21


Good mental health is imperative for one’s wellbeing. While clinical mental disorder treatments exist, self-care is an essential aspect of mental health. This paper explores the use and perceived trust of conversational agents, chatbots, in the context of crowdsourced self-care through a between-subjects study (N = 80). One group used a standalone system with a conventional web interface to discover self-care methods. The other group used the same system wrapped in a chatbot interface, facilitating utterances and turn-taking between the user and a chatbot. We identify the security and integrity of the systems as critical factors that affect users’ trust. The chatbot interface scored lower on both these factors, and we contemplate the potential underlying reasons for this. We complement the quantitative data with qualitative analysis and synthesize our findings to identify suggestions for using chatbots in mental health contexts.

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Series: Frontiers in digital health
ISSN: 2673-253X
ISSN-E: 2673-253X
ISSN-L: 2673-253X
Volume: 5
Article number: 1034724
DOI: 10.3389/fdgth.2023.1034724
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
217 Medical engineering
Funding: This research is connected to the GenZ strategic profiling project at the University of Oulu, supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 318930), and CRITICAL (Academy of Finland Strategic Research, 335729). Part of the work was also carried out with the support of Biocenter Oulu, spearhead project ICON.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 335729
Detailed Information: 335729 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 Moilanen, van Berkel, Visuri, Gadiraju, van der Maden and Hosio. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.