Ambulatory assessment

Ambulatory assessment is the systematic acquisition of psychological and/or physiological data in daily life situations (at the work place, school, university, or during leisure times).

Ambulatory monitoring is the mobile observation of physiological functions of people in daily life conditions in contrast to stationary 'cable linked' monitoring in the lab. The ambulatory monitoring can be done using either wireless systems or digital portable measurement devices.

The following technologies are used in our projects:

Electronical diaries

In collaboration with the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences we developed the PsyDiary app, a specialized software for Android- and iOS-based smartphones.

Electronical diaries are used for a collection of momentary psychological data in daily life. This collection of data near the time when an event of psychological relevance occured takes into account the influence of different contexts and different moods. Collecting data in the accustomed environment leads to an improved ecological validity. By using this method the retrospective bias is reduced in contrast to standard questionnaires or interviews, where the responses to the questions depend on recall heuristics, the time lag to the symptom, and the current mood. In general, the compliance of participants and the quality of the data is higher when using electronical diaries as compared to paper-and-pencil methods.

Actigraphy

An actigraph (also called actimetry sensor) is a small device which is worn like a wrist watch. It records movements by using a piezoelectric sensor. We use the devices by camntech (MotionWatch).

An actigraph consists of a microprocessor and a built-in memory to store accelerometry data for several days or even weeks. After the recording has ended the data can be read out using a computer and analyzed using special software. This allows for example the detection of phases of sleep and awakening periods during sleep and to extract a variety of parameters regarding the objective sleep quality.

Psychophysiological ambulatory monitoring

Depending on the type of application we use different ambulatory measurement devices: Variolab, Vitaport-1, Vitaport-3, VarioPort-B. These allow to record objective physiological markers of stress, anxiety, and other emotions in daily life. Beyond these special recordings, for example, polysomnography at home or chewing episode detection over several days are possible.

 

    
PsyDiary App     

Actigraph (MotionWatch)

  Ambulatory recording device (VarioPort)