Using wearable physiological monitors with suicidal adolescent inpatients: Feasibility and acceptability study

Evan Kleiman, Alexander J. Millner, Victoria W. Joyce, Carol C. Nash, Ralph J. Buonopane, Matthew K. Nock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Wearable physiological monitoring devices enable the continuous measurement of human behavior and psychophysiology in the real world. Although such monitors are promising, their availability does not guarantee that participants will continuously wear and interact with them, especially during times of psychological distress. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of using a wearable behavioral and physiological monitor, the Empatica E4, to continuously assess a group of suicidal adolescent inpatients. Methods: Participants (n=50 adolescent inpatients) were asked to wear an Empatica E4 on their wrist for the duration of their inpatient stay. In addition to assessing behavioral metadata (eg, hours worn per day), we also used qualitative interviews and self-report measures to assess participants’ experience of wearing the monitor. Results: Results supported the feasibility and acceptability of this approach. Participants wore the monitor for an average of 18 hours a day and reported that despite sometimes finding the monitor uncomfortable, they did not mind wearing it. Many of the participants noted that the part of the study they enjoyed most was contributing to scientific understanding, especially if it could help people similar to them in the future. Conclusions: These findings provide promising support for using wearable monitors in clinical samples in future studies, especially if participants are invested in being part of a research study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


  • Adolescent, hospitalized
  • Feasibility studies
  • Qualitative research
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Wearable electronic devices


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