Apparently, mild depression cannot be hidden from your smart phone, scientists say
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has conducted a study that shown depression development rate, by tracking the number of minutes you use your smart-phone and your daily GPS location data.
As observed, depressed people spend an average of 68 minutes a day using their mobile phone, compared with only 17 minutes among depression-free patients. Also, spending most of your time at home or having an erratic daily schedule can also increase depression rate.
Study participants completed the PHQ-9 questionnaire routinely used to diagnose depression and carried a mobile phone for 2 weeks, for which usage time and GPS location were recorded. The smart phone data detected depression more reliably that the PHQ-9 questionnaire, with 87% accuracy.
“People are likely, when on their phones, to avoid thinking about things that are troubling, painful feelings or difficult relationships. It’s an avoidance behavior we see in depression. When people are depressed, they tend to withdraw and don’t have the motivation or energy to go out and do things. The significance of this is that we can detect if a person has depressive symptoms and the severity of those symptoms without asking them any questions. We now have an objective measure of behavior related to depression”, author David Mohr explained.
The app makes it possible to passively detect depression, help monitoring the exposed patients and also “reduce symptoms of depression by encouraging people to visit more locations throughout the day, have a more regular routine, spend more time in a variety of places or reduce mobile phone use”, as lead author Sohrab Saeb stated.