If a teenage student uses Therabot, a self-guided virtual therapy computer application, will their stress and anxiety levels decrease?
By: Arietta G.
School: Carden Hall
Teacher: Miss Veneziale
In this project, I was curious to see if a self-guided virtual therapy computer application would help to decrease the stress and anxiety levels of teenagers. I started by creating an application, Therabot, that works as an interactive therapy tool, using Java to write the code.
I designed Therabot to help teenagers manage their daily mood and anxiety levels by guiding the user through self-assessment. Then, I tested twelve students by having them use the program six separate times at the end of different school days. The program asked the test subjects simple questions such as “How are you doing?” and “What inspired you today?” along with obtaining two scale reports, one at the beginning and one at the end of the session, asking the user to rate their mood on a range of 1-100.
A mood rating of 1 corresponded to perceived extreme stress and depression, while a mood rating of 100 corresponded to perceived happiness. The data analysis revealed an overall improvement for the majority of the students, and the average increase in their mood after the six sessions compared to before the therapy was 4.5 mood units.
Interestingly, the average change from before to after the session each day was always positive but fluctuated, meaning that the duration of days of usage had no impact on that day’s mood increase. In addition, the overall test subjects’ self-assessment of themselves after participating in the application boosted their mood rating each consecutive day by an average of 0.5, 6.1, 5.5, 4.4, 6.8, and 6.8 units, in chronological order on respective trial days compared to before they started the app that day.
This data lends support to my original hypothesis which stated that interacting with the Therabot virtual therapy program that guides the user through self- assessment activities will improve an adolescent’s mood and stress levels.