Marie Stadel

Behavioural and Social Sciences
University of Groningen


Capturing a Patient’s Context: Developing experience sampling tools for personalised patient feedback in psychotherapy

Contextual factors such as the social relationships and daily activities of a psychotherapy patient are key to personalised treatments [1]. Yet, they are largely neglected in current research, creating a deficit of tool development for efficient context assessments needed in clinical practice. Experience sampling (ESM) has huge potential for filling this gap [2], but current methodology is limited and ESM specifically tailored for the needs of clinicians and patients is still lacking. There are two main methodological gaps:

(1) ESM context assessments pay only minor attention to social environments. Thus, ESM’s potential for capturing therapy relevant information, such as a patient’s potential social support network, is often ignored. Additionally, context assessments currently provide broad categories (e.g., social roles and overlapping activity labels) instead of relevant individual-specific information [3-4]. This can be solved by personalising assessments and integrating personal network data collection [5] into ESM. It is yet unclear whether such personalisation is feasible and how to obtain highly specific data without increasing the burden on patients and therapists too much.

(2) Currently, ESM feedback ranges from basic to more complex formats [6-7] and it is unclear how to summarize highly specific ESM data and derive useful and understandable feedback for patients and clinicians.

The present project encompasses three stages to fill these methodological gaps:

(1) Developing feasible personalised ESM context assessments covering both, the social environment and daily activities of a patient.
(2) Finding ways to statistically summarize context-specific ESM data and derive personalised feedback that is interpretable and usable for the clinician and patient.
(3) Disseminating and implementing context-specific ESM in clinical practice by means of an online ESM interface for therapists and patients that is currently designed by researchers at the UMCG [8].

dr. M.A.J. van Duijn, dr. L.F. Bringmann, dr. G. Stulp

Financed by
PhD Scholarship Programme

1 November 2020 – 31st October 2024