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Efficacy of digital technologies aimed at enhancing emotion regulation skills: Literature review

Jadhakhan, Ferozkhan; Blake, Holly; Hett, Danielle; Marwaha, Steven


Ferozkhan Jadhakhan

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Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Danielle Hett

Steven Marwaha


Background: The impact of emotion regulation (ER) interventions on mental health and wellbeing has been extensively documented in the literature, although only recently have digital technologies been incorporated in intervention design. The aim of this review is to explore available published literature relating to the efficacy, barriers and facilitators of digital technologies in enhancing emotion/mood regulation skills. Methods: A review of the literature was performed to explore the effectiveness of digital technology in enhancing ER skills. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to 31st August 2020. In addition, the first 10 pages of Google Scholar were examined for relevant articles. The following MeSH term and key words were used to identify relevant articles: “emotion regulation OR mood regulation” AND “intervention OR treatment OR program$ OR therap$” AND “digital technologies OR web-based OR mobile application OR App.” Reference lists of retrieved papers were hand searched to identify additional publications. Findings were summarized narratively. Results: Titles and abstracts were reviewed by one reviewer in two phases, and confirmed by a second reviewer; discrepancies were resolved through discussion. First, the retrieved titles and abstracts were reviewed to identify relevant studies. Full texts of retrieved studies were then read to determine eligibility. The search resulted in 209 studies of which 191 citations were identified as potentially meeting the inclusion criteria. After reviewing the title and abstract of the 191 papers, 33 studies were identified as potentially meeting the inclusion criteria. Following full-text review, 10 studies met the inclusion criteria. Findings indicated the potential effectiveness of online, text-messaging, and smartphone interventions for enhancing ER skills. Conclusion: There is encouraging evidence that digital technologies may be beneficial for enhancing ER skills and providing personalized care remotely. Digital technologies, particularly the use of smartphones, were instrumental in facilitating assessments and delivering online self-help interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Continued research is required to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of digital technologies in ER skills and carefully consider risks/benefits while determining how emerging technologies might support the scale-up of ER skills and mental health treatment.


Jadhakhan, F., Blake, H., Hett, D., & Marwaha, S. (2022). Efficacy of digital technologies aimed at enhancing emotion regulation skills: Literature review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, Article 809332.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 7, 2022
Publication Date Sep 7, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Psychiatry
Electronic ISSN 1664-0640
Publisher Frontiers Media SA
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Article Number 809332
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health
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