Document Type



BackgroundThe gap between treatment need and treatment availability is particularly wide for individuals seeking Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and mobile apps based on DBT may be useful in increasing access to care and augmenting in-person DBT. This review examines DBT based apps, with a specific focus on content quality and usability.MethodsAll apps referring to DBT were identified in Google Play and iOS app stores and were systematically reviewed for app content and quality. The Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) was used to evaluate app usability and engagement.ResultsA total of 21 free to download apps were identified. The majority of apps (71%) included a component of skills training, five apps included a diary card feature. Most (76.19%) apps were designed to function without help from a therapist. The average user “star” rating was 4.39 out of 5. The mean overall MARS score was 3.41, with a range of 2.15 to 4.59, and 71.43% were considered minimally ‘acceptable,’ as defined by a score of 3 or higher. The average star rating was correlated with the total MARS score (r = .51, p = .02). Estimates of app usage differed substantially between popular and unpopular apps, with the three most popular apps accounting for 89.3% of monthly active users.ConclusionsWhile the present study identified many usable and engaging apps in app stores designed based on DBT, there are limited apps for clinicians. DBT based mobile apps should be carefully developed and clinically evaluated.

Publication Date

January 2021

Publication Title

Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation





Included in

Psychology Commons



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