Be Positive. Methodology for eHealth: when research meets practice


Depression is among the most prevalent diseases worldwide and one of the leading causes of disability adjusted life years in high income countries. In a search for trying to improve diagnostics and treatment for depression, a smartphone app, NiceDay, was developed. NiceDay makes use of Ecological Momentary Assessments and smartphone sensor monitoring to establish Behavioural Activation (BA). With BA, the patient is encouraged to achieve daily goals like a regular eating and sleeping pattern, keeping up with (social) activities, excercise sufficiently and to be aware of his/her emotions. BA was found to be as effective as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a therapy which is mostly given to patients with depression. BA however, is easier to carry out and less expensive than CBT. Nowadays, BA is effected by therapists in real life, mostly with a maximum frequency of once a week. NiceDay has been developed recently to automate the process of BA. It is already used by therapists and patients. The first impressions and experiences are positive, but there is no evidence yet supporting the use of NiceDay in the treatment of depression.


  • To investigate (cost) effectivity of blending psychotherapy for depression with ecological momentary assessment and sensor-based monitoring by using the smartphone app NiceDay.
  • To investigate whether NiceDay could assist in predicting response and relapse rate after therapy for depression; in predicting sub diagnosis of depression and other psychiatric comorbidity and to create individualised networks of behaviour and psychopathology


A randomised controlled trial, in which patients with moderate to severe unipolar (vital or atypic) depression will be divided in two groups. One group will receive standard treatment, the other group will receive behavioural activation by using the app NiceDay. The primary outcome will be the difference in reduction of symptoms between the two groups. As well as that, we will also investigate quality of life and the speed of reduction of symptoms.


Dr. T.N. Bonten
Prof. N.H. Chavannes
Dr. R. Goekoop, projectleader
E. Hoogerwerf, MSc (temporary)
A.V. Silven, MSc


A.V. Silven (