Computer science seniors Steven Buchele, Matthew Hruz and Mariano Marin are fine-tuning features on a smartphone life charting app that monitors research participants’ stress or happiness levels, among other things. Through a survey of questions individuals answer within the app, the platform tracks how daily events and other factors coincide with their moods. The research supports LIBR’s Tulsa 1000 project — a study to determine how biological and objective behavioral measures contribute to improving assessment and treatment of psychiatric patients. The project will recruit 1,000 Tulsans who suffer from a wide range of conditions such as eating, mood and anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse.
The app’s digital documentation is the equivalent of a participant filling out paper questionnaires, which can be tedious and difficult to track.
“The less effort needed, the more apt people are to do it,” Buchele said. “We’re tapping into their digital habits. We want to track their locations and find the daily factors that alter their moods.”
The app also is flexible enough to record different types of self-reported data such as subject weight, activities and diet, Marin said. “If participants can get something out of it, they will continue using the app. We’re looking into what people do day in and day out that affects their moods.”
The assessment data collected will be safely stored for referencing across participants who express similar moods and behaviors.
“For LIBR, this app will provide researchers with the exact information they want, and this is something that can only be offered if it’s locally developed,” Hruz said.
Tulsa 1000 and other study participants could begin using the interface by the end of the year.