Usability Testing of a Mobile Health Intervention to Address Acute Care Needs after Sexual Assault

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Aug 25;16(17):3088. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16173088.


Sexual assault is associated with a range of poor mental health outcomes. To enhance access to care by this population, technology-based mental health interventions have been implemented in the emergency room; however, more accessible and easily disseminated interventions are needed. The aim of the present study was to test the usability of a mobile health intervention targeting alcohol and drug misuse, suicide prevention, posttraumatic stress symptoms, coping skills, and referral to formal assistance for individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Feedback on the usability of the intervention was collected from individuals who received a sexual assault medical forensic examination (n = 13), and feedback on the usability and likelihood of recommending the application was collected from community providers (n = 25). Thematic analysis was used to describe qualitative data. Content themes related to aesthetics, usability, barriers to resources, and likes/dislikes about the intervention arose from interviews following the intervention. Participants found the intervention to be user friendly and endorsed more likes than dislikes. Providers rated the intervention as being helpful and would recommend it to survivors of sexual assault. Findings suggest that the intervention is usable and fit for future effectiveness testing, filling an important gap in treatment for individuals who experience sexual assault.

Keywords: mHealth; sexual assault; usability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sex Offenses*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Telemedicine*