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Behavioral Health and Technology

Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences

Can your smartphone tell if you're depressed?

July 15, 2015

The study followed 28 men and women for 2 weeks tracking their cell phone habits.  The results suggested that the more time a person spent using their phone the more likely they were to be depressed.  In addition, cell phone GPS data suggest that the more time a person spends at home, visiting fewer locations, depression is more likely. 

"The study is very preliminary, but it is exciting," said Lee Ritterband, director of the Behavioral Health and Technology Lab at the University of Virginia Health System. "I imagine what the researchers ultimately want to do is create a better and more easily deliverable assessment of how people are doing mental health-wise so that they can then deliver interventions to those folks in a way that reduces the burdens of getting treatments they might otherwise not get."