Pilot - Increasing Access to Mental Health Care for Low-Income Americans Using Low-Cost Remote Psychological Support Tools

Last registered on March 22, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Pilot - Increasing Access to Mental Health Care for Low-Income Americans Using Low-Cost Remote Psychological Support Tools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006752
Initial registration date
March 10, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 12, 2021, 8:48 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
March 22, 2021, 4:37 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
MIT
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-05-01
End date
2021-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We propose to evaluate the delivery of psychotherapy to low-income adults via audio, text messaging and video calls with licensed therapists. This pilot study will examine if incentives need to be adjusted for the full study in order to create sufficient usage of online mental health services as well as adequate completion rates of surveys assessing mental well-being. We will also assess whether survey questions need to be adjusted for clarity and accuracy of information. The planned output of this study will inform the survey design and incentive structure in separate randomized control trials to be designed and conducted after the close of this study.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Notowidigdo, Matthew et al. 2021. "Pilot - Increasing Access to Mental Health Care for Low-Income Americans Using Low-Cost Remote Psychological Support Tools." AEA RCT Registry. March 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6752
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This is a pilot of a larger study that will be conducted in partnership with a non-profit partner and an online mental health care provider that connects users to licensed therapists. Participants are current clients of the non-profit. The pilot will occur in two parts:

The first part will consist of a single incentivized survey. Participants in this part of study will be selected at random from a list provided by the non-profit which contains contact information of clients who have been in the program for 3-6 months and 6 months or more. Once selected, individuals will be randomly assigned by computer to one of three different incentive levels as encouragement to complete the survey. The survey aims to generate a baseline evaluation of individuals' mental wellbeing, economic circumstances, and beliefs about mental health services among other topics. Mental wellbeing will be assessed using questions from the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ8) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale.

For the second portion of the pilot, we will run a pilot of the randomized control trial experiment, detailed below.
Intervention Start Date
2021-05-01
Intervention End Date
2021-06-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Survey response rate
Usage of online therapy (number of video calls and chats)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants will be randomized into the following treatment groups:

Control condition: no intervention
Subsidy treatment: free access to online therapy over one month
Incentive treatment: free access to online therapy plus incentives for active use over one month

The control group will receive no intervention. Participants in the subsidy treatment will be given free access to the mental health tools, along with encouragement to use the tools. In addition, participants in the incentive treatment will receive moderate weekly financial incentives conditional on usage of the mental health tool (based on usage data provided by the online mental health provider).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
120
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Chicago SBS IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-03-02
IRB Approval Number
IRB20-1406
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials