PhD student Bart Geerling from the University of Twente developed an app that helps people with bipolar disorder improve the way they cope with stressful events. The app offers these people exercises from positive psychology and contributes to their well-being. On Thursday 14 September, he defends his PhD thesis.
People with bipolar have alternating depressive, extremely energetic and more stable periods. These periods are chronic and unpredictable. These people are advised to closely monitor the impact of their mood on functioning. But for many, it takes a lot of effort to do this and is also a daily confrontation with their diagnosis.
This is why Geerling developed the app WELLBE-BD (Well-being Bipolar Disorder), which aimed to improve the well-being of these people. "Most of our patients were already using apps, but these were focused on performing activities, providing structure and relaxation," Geerling says. Geerling took a different approach. Through positive psychology exercises (with a focus on patients' strengths rather than their complaints), users reported more positive feelings and emotions.
"In addition to the app WELLBE-BD, I also created a monitoring application that fits well with patients' needs," says Geerling. Both apps were created in collaboration with patients and professionals. That the app was appreciated among the test subjects was clear; on average, they rated the app WELLBE-BD with a 7.5.
Bart Geerling conducted his research at the Department of Psychology, Health & Technology (PHT; Faculty of BMS / TechMed Centre). His supervisors are Prof. Dr. E.T. Bohlmeijer (Faculty of BMS) and Prof. Dr. Ralph Kupka (Amsterdam UMC) with Dr. S.M. Kelders (Faculty of BMS)as co-supervisor. Geerling defends his thesis entitled 'Development and implementation of e-health interventions to improve self-management and well-being in patients with bipolar disorder (WELLBE-BD)' on Thursday 14 September.