Dr. Alicia Hong, Professor at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services, and her colleagues in China, developed the digital intervention Run4Love on the popular social media app WeChat. They evaluated Run4Love with a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 300 PLWH with depression in China.
Run4Love was a digital multimedia program adapted from evidence-based Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management courses. Participants received stress reduction exercises, cognitive therapy, and exercise guidance on WeChat. Their progress was monitored with timely, tailored feedback. The intervention led to a significant reduction in depressive symptoms (0.6 effect size) in 3-, 6- and 9-month follow-ups and reduced stress, suicidal behaviors, and improved quality of life.
“This is one of the first large RCTs with long-term follow-up to evaluate digital interventions in global health settings.” Hong explains, “The success of Run4Love suggests an app-based digital intervention is feasible for many PLWH in resource-limited settings.”