Background: Motivation is a core component of diabetes self-management because it allows adults with diabetes mellitus (DM) to adhere to clinical recommendations. In this context, virtual coaches (VCs) have assumed a central role in supporting and treating common barriers related to adherence. However, most of them are mainly focused on medical and physical purposes, such as the monitoring of blood glucose levels or following a healthy diet. Objective: This proof-of-concept study aims to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of a VC intervention for psychosocial support before and after the intervention and at follow-up. The intent of this VC is to motivate adults with type 1 DM and type 2 DM to adopt and cultivate healthy coping strategies to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and diabetes-related emotional distress, while also improving their well-being. Methods: A total of 13 Italian adults with DM (18-51 years) interacted with a VC, called Motibot (motivational bot) using the Telegram messaging app. The interaction covered 12 sessions, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes, during which the user could dialogue with the VC by inputting text or tapping an option on their smartphone screen. Motibot is developed within the transtheoretical model of change to deliver the most appropriate psychoeducational intervention based on the user’s motivation to change. Results: Results showed that over the 12 sessions, there were no significant changes before and after the intervention and at follow-up regarding psychosocial factors. However, most users showed a downward trend over the 3 time periods in depression and anxiety symptoms, thereby presenting good psychological well-being and no diabetes-related emotional distress. In addition, users felt motivated, involved, encouraged, emotionally understood, and stimulated by Motibot during the interaction. Indeed, the analyses of semistructured interviews, using a text mining approach, showed that most users reported a perceived reduction in anxiety, depression, and/or stress symptoms. Moreover, users indicated the usefulness of Motibot in supporting and motivating them to find a mindful moment for themselves and to reflect on their own emotions. Conclusions: Motibot was well accepted by users, particularly because of the inclusion of mindfulness practices, which motivated them to adopt healthy coping skills. To this extent, Motibot provided psychosocial support for adults with DM, particularly for those with mild and moderate symptoms, whereas those with severe symptoms may benefit more from face-to-face psychotherapy.

Motibot - The Virtual Coach for Healthy Coping Intervention among adults with diabetes: A Proof-of-Concept study

Giulia Bassi
;
Claudio Giuliano;Stefano Forti;Silvia Gabrielli;
2022

Abstract

Background: Motivation is a core component of diabetes self-management because it allows adults with diabetes mellitus (DM) to adhere to clinical recommendations. In this context, virtual coaches (VCs) have assumed a central role in supporting and treating common barriers related to adherence. However, most of them are mainly focused on medical and physical purposes, such as the monitoring of blood glucose levels or following a healthy diet. Objective: This proof-of-concept study aims to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of a VC intervention for psychosocial support before and after the intervention and at follow-up. The intent of this VC is to motivate adults with type 1 DM and type 2 DM to adopt and cultivate healthy coping strategies to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and diabetes-related emotional distress, while also improving their well-being. Methods: A total of 13 Italian adults with DM (18-51 years) interacted with a VC, called Motibot (motivational bot) using the Telegram messaging app. The interaction covered 12 sessions, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes, during which the user could dialogue with the VC by inputting text or tapping an option on their smartphone screen. Motibot is developed within the transtheoretical model of change to deliver the most appropriate psychoeducational intervention based on the user’s motivation to change. Results: Results showed that over the 12 sessions, there were no significant changes before and after the intervention and at follow-up regarding psychosocial factors. However, most users showed a downward trend over the 3 time periods in depression and anxiety symptoms, thereby presenting good psychological well-being and no diabetes-related emotional distress. In addition, users felt motivated, involved, encouraged, emotionally understood, and stimulated by Motibot during the interaction. Indeed, the analyses of semistructured interviews, using a text mining approach, showed that most users reported a perceived reduction in anxiety, depression, and/or stress symptoms. Moreover, users indicated the usefulness of Motibot in supporting and motivating them to find a mindful moment for themselves and to reflect on their own emotions. Conclusions: Motibot was well accepted by users, particularly because of the inclusion of mindfulness practices, which motivated them to adopt healthy coping skills. To this extent, Motibot provided psychosocial support for adults with DM, particularly for those with mild and moderate symptoms, whereas those with severe symptoms may benefit more from face-to-face psychotherapy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/328946
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