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The use of goal‐based outcome measures in digital therapy with adults: What goals are set, and are they achieved?

Banwell, Emily, Salhi, Louisa, Hanley, Terry, Facey‐Campbell, Nicole (2023) The use of goal‐based outcome measures in digital therapy with adults: What goals are set, and are they achieved? Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 23 (3). pp. 770-780. ISSN 1746-1405. (doi:10.1002/capr.12584) (KAR id:102182)



The use of idiographic goal-based outcome measures (GBO) to monitor progress in digital therapy with adults has received little research attention. This study aimed to identify broad patterns of GBO engagement in an anonymous digital therapy service for adults, including the extent to which goals are recorded as being met by the measures.


The GBO measured the progress made towards goal achievement within the service, using a 0- to 10-point scale. This paper analysed GBO data from 442 users of a digital therapy service, using descriptive and inferential statistics. Service-user demographics were examined, along with the level of progress per goal topic, the patterns of engagement with self-set versus collaboratively set goals and the influence of key presenting issues on goal progress.


One thousand two hundred and forty-two goals were set, equating to a mean average of 2.23 goals set per person. Of those who engaged with the service in a sustained way, 31.6% of the goals were recorded as fully achieved, and the mean average progress was 4.35 points of a possible 10. Goals relating to signposting were frequently set. Goals set collaboratively with a practitioner were successfully achieved more often than those set independently, and those with a practitioner-recorded presenting issue made the most goal progress.


Although nuances associated with digital environments should be considered if the findings of this study are to be transferable to other therapeutic settings, our insights suggest that GBOs appear useful for monitoring therapeutic progress with adults within the digital context.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/capr.12584
Uncontrolled keywords: digital therapy; E-mental health; goal-based outcome measures; idiographic measure; mental health; therapeutic goals
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2023 08:38 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 11:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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