Background: Daily functioning of people with cognitive disorders such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is usually depicted by retrospective questionnaires, which can be memory-biased and neglect fluctuations over time or contexts.
Objective: This study examines the feasibility and usability of applying the experience sampling method (ESM) in people with MCI to provide a detailed and dynamic picture of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive patterns in everyday life.
Methods: For 6 consecutive days, 21 people with MCI used an ESM app on their smartphones. At 8 semi-random timepoints per day, participants filled in momentary questionnaires on mood, activities, social context, and subjective cognitive complaints. Feasibility was determined through self-reports and observable human-technology interactions. Usability was demonstrated on an individual and group level.
Results: Of the 21 participants, 3 dropped out due to forgetting to carry their smartphones or forgetting the study instructions. In the remaining 18 individuals, the compliance rate was high, at 78.7%. Participants reported that momentary questions reflected their daily experiences well. Of the 18 participants, 13 (72%) experienced the increase in awareness of their own memory functions as pleasant or neutral.
Conclusions: Support was found for the general feasibility of smartphone-based experience sampling in people with MCI. However, many older adults with MCI are currently not in possession of smartphones, and study adherence seems challenging for a minority of individuals. Momentary data can increase the insights into daily patterns and may guide the person-tailored development of self-management strategies in clinical settings.
- experience sampling method
- mild cognitive impairment
- ECOLOGICAL MOMENTARY ASSESSMENT
- HOSPITAL ANXIETY