How are Conversations via an On-Demand Peer-To-Peer Emotional Well-Being App Associated with Emotional Improvement?

Miriam Brinberg, Susanne M. Jones, Michael L. Birnbaum, Graham D. Bodie, Nilam Ram, Denise Haunani Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-clinical, on-demand peer-to-peer (PtP) support apps have become increasingly popular over the past several years. Although not as pervasive as general self-help apps, these PtP support apps are usually free and instantly connect individuals through live texting with a non-clinical volunteer who has been minimally trained to listen and offer support. To date, there is little empirical work that examines whether and how using an on-demand PtP support app improves emotional well-being. Applying regression and multilevel models to N = 1000+ PtP conversations, this study examined whether individuals experience emotional improvement following a conversation on a PtP support app (HearMe) and whether dyadic characteristics of the conversation–specifically, verbal and emotional synchrony–are associated with individuals’ emotional improvement. We found that individuals reported emotional improvement following a conversation on the PtP support app and that verbal (but not emotional) synchrony was associated with the extent of individuals’ emotional improvement. Our results suggest that online PtP support apps are a viable source of help. We discuss cautions and considerations when applying our findings to enhance the delivery of support provision on PtP apps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

Cite this