Reporting Mental Health Symptoms: Breaking Down Barriers to Care with Virtual Human Interviewers (bibtex)
by Gale M. Lucas, Albert Rizzo, Jonathan Gratch, Stefan Scherer, Giota Stratou, Jill Boberg, Louis-Philippe Morency
Abstract:
A common barrier to healthcare for psychiatric conditions is the stigma associated with these disorders. Perceived stigma prevents many from reporting their symptoms. Stigma is a particularly pervasive problem among military service members, preventing them from reporting symptoms of combat-related conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, research shows (increased reporting by service members when anonymous assessments are used. For example, service members report more symptoms of PTSD when they anonymously answer the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) symptom checklist compared to the official PDHA, which is identifiable and linked to their military records. To investigate the factors that influence reporting of psychological symptoms by service members, we used a transformative technology: automated virtual humans that interview people about their symptoms. Such virtual human interviewers allow simultaneous use of two techniques for eliciting disclosure that would otherwise be incompatible; they afford anonymity while also building rapport. We examined whether virtual human interviewers could increase disclosure of mental health symptoms among active-duty service members that just returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. Service members reported more symptoms during a conversation with a virtual human interviewer than on the official PDHA. They also reported more to a virtual human interviewer than on an anonymized PDHA. A second, larger sample of active-duty and former service members found a similar effect that approached statistical significance. Because respondents in both studies shared more with virtual human interviewers than an anonymized PDHA—even though both conditions control for stigma and ramifications for service members’ military records—virtual human interviewers that build rapport may provide a superior option to encourage reporting.
Reference:
Reporting Mental Health Symptoms: Breaking Down Barriers to Care with Virtual Human Interviewers (Gale M. Lucas, Albert Rizzo, Jonathan Gratch, Stefan Scherer, Giota Stratou, Jill Boberg, Louis-Philippe Morency), In Frontiers in Robotics and AI, volume 4, 2017.
Bibtex Entry:
@article{lucas_reporting_2017,
	title = {Reporting {Mental} {Health} {Symptoms}: {Breaking} {Down} {Barriers} to {Care} with {Virtual} {Human} {Interviewers}},
	volume = {4},
	issn = {2296-9144},
	url = {http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frobt.2017.00051/full},
	doi = {10.3389/frobt.2017.00051},
	abstract = {A common barrier to healthcare for psychiatric conditions is the stigma associated with these disorders. Perceived stigma prevents many from reporting their symptoms. Stigma is a particularly pervasive problem among military service members, preventing them from reporting symptoms of combat-related conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, research shows (increased reporting by service members when anonymous assessments are used. For example, service members report more symptoms of PTSD when they anonymously answer the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) symptom checklist compared to the official PDHA, which is identifiable and linked to their military records. To investigate the factors that influence reporting of psychological symptoms by service members, we used a transformative technology: automated virtual humans that interview people about their symptoms. Such virtual human interviewers allow simultaneous use of two techniques for eliciting disclosure that would otherwise be incompatible; they afford anonymity while also building rapport. We examined whether virtual human interviewers could increase disclosure of mental health symptoms among active-duty service members that just returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. Service members reported more symptoms during a conversation with a virtual human interviewer than on the official PDHA. They also reported more to a virtual human interviewer than on an anonymized PDHA. A second, larger sample of active-duty and former service members found a similar effect that approached statistical significance. Because respondents in both studies shared more with virtual human interviewers than an anonymized PDHA—even though both conditions control for stigma and ramifications for service members’ military records—virtual human interviewers that build rapport may provide a superior option to encourage reporting.},
	journal = {Frontiers in Robotics and AI},
	author = {Lucas, Gale M. and Rizzo, Albert and Gratch, Jonathan and Scherer, Stefan and Stratou, Giota and Boberg, Jill and Morency, Louis-Philippe},
	month = oct,
	year = {2017},
	keywords = {MedVR, UARC, Virtual Humans}
}
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