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Well-Being Tracking via Smartphone-Measured Activity and Sleep: Cohort Study

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Automatically tracking mental well-being could facilitate personalization of treatments for mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Smartphones present a novel and ubiquitous opportunity to track individuals' behavior and may be useful for inferring and automatically monitoring mental well-being.


The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which activity and sleep tracking with a smartphone can be used for monitoring individuals' mental well-being.


A cohort of 106 individuals was recruited to install an app on their smartphone that would track their well-being with daily surveys and track their behavior with activity inferences from their phone's accelerometer data. Of the participants recruited, 53 had sufficient data to infer activity and sleep measures. For this subset of individuals, we related measures of activity and sleep to the individuals' well-being and used these measures to predict their well-being.


We found that smartphone-measured approximations for daily physical activity were positively correlated with both mood (P=.004) and perceived energy level (P<.001). Sleep duration was positively correlated with mood (P=.02) but not energy. Our measure for sleep disturbance was not found to be significantly related to either mood or energy, which could imply too much noise in the measurement. Models predicting the well-being measures from the activity and sleep measures were found to be significantly better than naive baselines (P<.01), despite modest overall improvements.


Measures of activity and sleep inferred from smartphone activity were strongly related to and somewhat predictive of participants' well-being. Whereas the improvement over naive models was modest, it reaffirms the importance of considering physical activity and sleep for predicting mood and for making automatic mood monitoring a reality.

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