Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Cyber-victimization through App-messaging (IMPACT)

­Digital Health Intervention to Improve Well-being and Reduce Cyberbullying Among Adolescents


Cyberbullying and depressive symptoms are increasingly common, interrelated problems among American youth; COVID has only heightened the reliance of youth on social media, as well as their mental distress. Our novel two-part app-based cybervictimization intervention for adolescents aged 13–17 decreases psychological stress, while increasing overall well-being and bystander actions. 
Market Opportunity
Up to 70 percent of adolescents report being a victim of cyberbullying. The delivery of interventions directly to personal mobile devices, at the place and time they are likely to be most effective, has appeal to patients and health care practitioners alike. But such interventions require expertise not only in health care-specific topics, intervention theory, and population-specific characteristics, but technological design and development. While protective factors to reduce the risk of cyberbullying and its related consequences have been identified, there is not yet an easy-to-use, effective prevention intervention that teens will actually use.
Innovation and Meaningful Advantages
Our novel intervention, IMPACT (Intervention Media to Prevent Adolescent Cyber-conflict through Technology), consists of two parts. The first is a remote video interaction with a trained counselor to enroll users in the mobile app and introduce basic concepts about cyberbullying prevention, resilience, and well-being. The second is an eight-week, structured, automated, interactive mobile app that provides daily tailored messages regarding cyberbullying prevention, resilience, and well-being. IMPACT was used on a daily basis by 90 percent of the adolescents enrolled in our study. Preliminary results show that it increases well-being, decreases stress, and improves intention to engage in bystander behaviors. 

Our successful use of Instagram ads for recruitment and retention demonstrated the app’s capacity for scalable remote intervention delivery. Using social media, it is possible to target specific populations by age, gender, general interests, region, and so on, enabling delivery of care to otherwise hard-to-reach communities. Our form of delivery can be adapted to the needs of any evidence-based intervention. 

Collaboration Opportunity
We are interested in exploring 1) research collaborations with mobile app development companies to develop this intervention tool and 2) licensing opportunities with digital health companies. 

Principal Investigator
Megan Ranney, MD, MPH
Warren Alpert Foundation Professor of Emergency Medicine
Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Health Services, Policy, and Practice
Brown University
Brown Tech ID #3090J

Kutok, ER, Doria, N, Dunsiger, S, Patena, JV, Nugent, NR, Riese, A, Rosen, RK, Ranney, ML. Feasibility and Cost of Using instagram to Recruit Adolescents to a Remote Intervention. J Adolesc Health. 2021 Nov;69(5):838-846.
doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.04.021. 

Kutok, ER, Dunsiger, S, Patena, JV, Nugent, NR, Riese, A, Rosen, RK, Ranney, ML. Cyberbullying Media-Based Prevention Intervention for Instagram: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mental Health. 2021 Sept 15;8(9):e26029. doi: 10.2196/26029.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
Megan Ranney
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