The Relationship Between Depressive Symptoms, eHealth Literacy, and Asthma Outcomes in the Context of a Mobile Health Intervention

Psychosom Med. 2023 Sep 1;85(7):605-611. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001170. Epub 2023 Jan 27.


Objective: The ASTHMAXcel PRO mobile app provides asthma education and collects asthma outcome data. The objective of this study was to evaluate the associations between health/electronic health literacy (eHealth literacy) and depressive symptoms with app usage and clinical outcomes.

Methods: Adults with persistent asthma were recruited to use the app. Participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 to assess for depressive symptoms, Asthma Control Test, Mini Asthma Quality of Life (QOL) Questionnaire, and the Newest Vital Sign tool to measure health literacy. Data on a subset of participants were available on eHealth literacy ( n = 24) and average number of app logins across 2 months ( n = 40).

Results: The total study sample included 96 participants (46% non-Hispanic Black, 44.4% Hispanic). The average participant age was 44.0 (standard deviation = 14.9) years, with 74% identifying as female. Increased depressive symptoms were associated with worse asthma control ( β = -0.46, p < .001) and asthma QOL ( β = -0.38, p < .001), but not eHealth literacy. Higher eHealth literacy was associated with worse asthma QOL ( β = -0.48, p = .02) and more app logins ( β = 0.59, p = .04). Newest Vital Sign scores were not associated with any of the other measures.

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms were associated with worse asthma outcomes. eHealth literacy was associated with increased patient engagement with the app and worse asthma QOL, which may reflect patients with worse QOL seeking out health information on the Internet (although directionality could not be assessed). Digital health literacy may be key to increasing patient engagement with mobile health interventions.Trial Registration: National Clinical Trial No. 03847142, .

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma* / therapy
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine*

Associated data