Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Introduction: Several disorders, including anxiety, emerge during the course of adolescence, marking it as an important epoch in terms of psychological vulnerability and preventive intervention development. Recent reports suggest smartphone access among youth is nearly ubiquitous, and that the overwhelming majority of teens report they are online either almost constantly or at least several times a day. The rapid emergence of digital technology use among teens suggests that this may be a promising modality through which to reach and engage vulnerable youth. The current study utilized the online platform of Facebook to recruit adolescents at risk for anxiety and remotely elicit their feedback on the design of an anxiety digital preventive intervention. Methods. Adolescents were recruited online via advertisements on Facebook. Twenty adolescents (Mage = 16.5 years; 65% female) across the US, who evidenced risk for anxiety, participated in the online focus group. The racial and ethnic background of the adolescents were as followed: 40% identified as Caucasian, 20% as Biracial, 20% as Asian, 15% as African American, and 5% as Hispanic. Adolescents participated in three different sessions using an assigned anonymous Facebook profile, in which they responded in real time to questions posted in a private (“secret”) Facebook group by the research team. We were interested in the feasibility of using this platform to elicit feedback from teens as well as the qualitative responses from the posted questions. Qualitative coding was conducted on the session transcripts using thematic analysis. Results: Overall, teens were interested in the online focus group and actively engaged in discussion via this platform. Several themes emerged from the group discussion around anxiety and technology, such as the importance of peer involvement in the design of the digital preventive intervention for anxiety. Additional themes that emerged from the qualitative data will be discussed, as well as other findings around “lessons learned” from using social media as a focus group platform with teens and also the parental impressions of this platform. Conclusions: Engagement of the target population in the intervention design process is important to consider to create interventions that are usable and can be sustainably implemented in the real-world. Active adolescent engagement and participation in the online focus group suggests social media platforms, such as Facebook, may be an effective tool to engage and elicit feedback from youth in the early stages of the intervention design process.