Elizabeth Donovan, Ph.D.
Participants: Ten AYA with sarcoma (50% female; 50% adolescents); parents of the five adolescents, and six healthcare providers (N=21).
Design and Methodology: Formative research involved three steps: (1) In-depth interviews were conducted with ten AYA with sarcoma; parents of the five adolescents, and six healthcare providers (N=21). (2) Adaptations were made to an existing mindfulness app (Whil Concepts, Inc.), which offers a program for youth called “Grow.” Modifications included creating a 4-week “Mindfulness for Resilience in Illness” program, with 28 relaxation exercises, and the addition of videos featuring two sarcoma survivors as program hosts. (3) A private Facebook usability group was organized to (i) elicit beliefs about the mindfulness app and potential future enhancements, and (ii) promote social support.
Mindfulness component/intervention: Content was informed by the mindfulness curriculum for adolescents, Learning to Breathe.
Main findings: Results of the in-depth interviews revealed themes around adolescents’ functioning and coping, including body image concerns; recurrence-related anxiety; anger over loss; and being overwhelmed by medical information. Themes from the interviews were incorporated into a demonstration version of the mobile app.
Discussion: A patient-centered approach is widely recommended in the development of mobile-based health behavior change interventions and may be a useful way to inform development of a mobile-based mindfulness and social support intervention for AYA with cancer.
Elizabeth Donovan Ph.D. is the Director of Research and Evaluation for BodiMojo, Inc. in Boston, MA and an Instructor at Simmons College in Boston. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in health psychology. Her work focuses on the development and evaluation of health behavior change programs delivered through mobile technology. Dr. Donovan’s research interests are in the management of chronic health conditions, particularly conditions involving chronic pain. Her current research goals include qualitatively describing experiences of people living with chronic pain and creating and evaluating interventions to improve the lives of people living with chronic pain.
She is currently an investigator on four grants, working in collaboration with researchers from various medical schools and is Principal Investigator on two of these grants. The goal of the first project is to develop and pilot test an intervention designed to increase social support for adolescents and young adults with sarcoma. The goal of the second project is to develop and pilot test an intervention for parents of children with chronic pain. She is also a co-investigator on two grants. The goal of the first project is to increase the provision of pharmacy-based naloxone to reduce overdose deaths from opioids. The goal of the second project is to create and evaluate a text-message based program designed to increase engagement in a state Medicaid pain management program. Dr. Donovan’s research is funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.