The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting (APA 2019) in San Francisco, CA. Psychiatry Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in psychiatry. Check back for the latest news from APA 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO – Business model characteristics of mobile applications (apps) for anxiety management are significantly associated with the amount and scale of ratings given, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, held May 18-22, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

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Researchers evaluated how business models of anxiety apps differ and how they are associated with commercial success in the United States and Chinese markets. In July 2018, they conducted Google searches and queried the iOS App Store for app description pages mentioning “anxiety,” “Health & Fitness,” “reviews,” and “iOS.” Researchers then determined whether the apps cost money to download, offered in-app purchases, or had a subscription fee. The number of reviews and average ratings were recorded to determine commercial success.

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To evaluate data, the researchers used chi-square tests to assess the association between nation and business models, t-tests were used for univariate analyses related to commercial success, ordinary least squares regression was used to assess factors with download counts, and probit evaluated the association between rating and business model.

Of 619 apps identified by search criteria, 382 apps had complete data available and were applicable to people with anxiety. Most of the apps included (n=346) were from the US iOS App Store and were significantly more likely to have a download fee (P <.01), a subscription model (P <.001), and in-app purchases (P <.03). Ordinary least squares regression found that in the association between business model and ratings, the subscription models were significantly associated with more ratings (P <.01). The probit results showed that subscription models were associated with higher rating levels, a ≥4 on a 5-point scale.

The results show that there are national differences in the business models of apps for anxiety management. “This suggests that clinicians and patients should consider the business model of an app for anxiety when considering whether to use it,” researchers concluded.

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Torous J, Yue Z, Shan C. The business models of apps for anxiety management: an international comparison. Poster presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 18-22, 2019; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 126.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor