Mental Health Literacy and Demand for Mental Health Support among University Students

Last registered on November 08, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Mental Health Literacy and Demand for Mental Health Support among University Students
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008406
Initial registration date
October 20, 2021
Last updated
November 08, 2021, 4:13 PM EST

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Erasmus University Rotterdam
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-25
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This project aims to study whether providing literacy information about mental health increases the demand for mental health support among university students. The demand for mental health support is measured with the WTP for a CBT therapy app and with the demand about specific support services available for students. Additionally, this project investigates the interaction between information and the roots of low demand for mental health support. In particular, the project focuses on the role of students' backgrounds, mental health status, and beliefs affect support-seeking behavior in shaping the demand for mental health support. Among the beliefs, we investigate the role of self and social image concerns about seeking mental health support, the perceived benefits of good mental health for educational and labor market outcomes and the perceived effectiveness of mental health support tools.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Acampora, Michelle, Francesco Capozza and Vahid Moghani. 2021. "Mental Health Literacy and Demand for Mental Health Support among University Students." AEA RCT Registry. November 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8406-1.1
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-25
Intervention End Date
2021-11-15

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
WTP for a mental health support app (already assessed in a medical trial)
Demand for information about mental health support services (university psychologist and coaching service)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will recruit university students from a Dutch university via e-mail. The recruitment will be done via standard communication channels at the university level. We will not have access to any e-mail of the participants. We will incentivise the participation by giving a voucher with 100 euros for 1 participant out of 75.

After joining the survey, the participants will create an unique anonymous ID code (to make sure that the experiment is completely anonymous without any identifiable information of the participants). Finally, we will collect their basic demographic information.

We will randomize the participants in one of the two experimental conditions. Half of the participants will receive an information bundle to increase the participants’ mental health literacy.The remaining half of the participants allocated to the Control group will not receive any information about mental health. The control group in this experiment can be seen as a passive control group.

After the exposure to the treatment, we will elicit the participants’ “willingness-to-pay” for a mental health online app. The app combines
exercises of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and it has been shown effective in research trials. To have an incentive-compatible WTP elicitation, we will use the BDM mechanism (following Cullen and Perez-Truglia (2018b)). We will also capture the participants’ willingness to be informed about the psychological service provided by the university or the coaching service provided by the university as well. The option to not acquire any information is also possible. We ask the participants to rank the alternative from the most preferred option to the least preferred option.

We will explore the potential mechanisms that could explain the reasons behind the decisions of the individuals. To do so, we will ask a battery of post-treatment questions. We will elicit Risk and Time preferences using the standard questions from Falk et al (2018).

We will assess the participants’ mental health status by using the diagnostic tool PHQ-4.

Finally, we will recontact the participants of the experiment few weeks later and we will match them to their previous answers by means of their unique ID code and their demographic variables.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Qualtrics randomisation
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,500-3,000. We will recruit the students from a Dutch University that hosts 30,000 students (roughly). The expected participation rate in surveys disseminated through the University is between 5% and 10%. We expect a sample size between 1,500 and 3,000 participants. Once we reach the cap of 3,000 participants, we will end the data collection. Otherwise, we keep the survey open for 20 days after publishing it.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Half participants will be allocated to the Treatment group and the remaining half to the Control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
alpha=0.05, 1-beta=0.80, sd =1, with 1,500 (3,000) participants the MDE is 0.15SD (0.10SD)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Erasmus School of Economics IRB-E
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-30
IRB Approval Number
ETH2122-0110
Analysis Plan

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