ESMvis: a tool for visualizing individual Experience Sampling Method (ESM) data

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Abstract

PURPOSE: The experience sampling method (ESM) is used for intensive longitudinal time-series data collection during normal daily life. ESM data give information on momentary affect, activities and (social) context of, for example, patients suffering from mental disorders, and allows for person-specific feedback reports. However, current personalized feedback reports only display a selection of measured variables, and typically involve only summary statistics, thus not reflecting the dynamic fluctuations in affect and its influencing factors. To address this shortcoming, we developed a tool for dynamically visualizing ESM data.

METHODS: We introduce a new framework, ESMvis, for giving descriptive feedback, focusing on direct visualization of the dynamic nature of raw data. In this ESM feedback approach, raw ESM data are visualized using R software. We applied ESMvis to data collected for over 52 weeks on a patient diagnosed with an obsessive-compulsive disorder with comorbid depression.

RESULTS: We provided personalized feedback, in which both the overall trajectory and specific time moments were captured in a movie format. Two relapses during the study period could be visually determined, and subsequently confirmed by the therapist. The therapist and patient evaluated ESMvis as an insightful add-on tool to care-as-usual.

CONCLUSION: ESMvis is a showcase on providing personalized feedback by dynamic visualization of ESM time-series data. Our tool is freely available and adjustable, making it widely applicable. In addition to potential applications in clinical practice, ESMvis can work as an exploratory tool that can lead to new hypotheses and inform more complex statistical techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalQuality of Life Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22-Nov-2020

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