On the 19th of September , Stress in Action’s team of researchers in Research Theme 2 (RT2) held their inaugural hybrid meeting. The session brought together junior and senior researchers working on the challenge of developing ethically sound, reliable, and valid tools to detect and quantify stress in daily life.

The core issue addressed in this meeting was the trade-off between the established validity of research-oriented wearables and their limited usability in daily life, versus consumer-oriented devices which are more user-friendly but often lack rigorous scientific validation. Furthermore, with the proliferation of apps claiming stress-reducing capabilities without a solid theoretical foundation, there’s an imperative need for RT2 to design interventions centered on the user, particularly when targeting vulnerable groups.

The Research Theme 2 mission is multi-faceted:

  • Navigating the dilemma between high-precision wearables that are cumbersome and consumer-friendly devices that might lack rigorous validation;
  • Addressing the potential pitfalls of technology-driven interventions, ensuring they don’t inadvertently cause harm or distress;
  • Implementing user-centered design methods, focusing on the specific needs, desires, and capacities of various user demographics.

The overarching goal for RT2, as re-emphasized during the meeting, is the development of a state-of-the-art, low-burden ambulatory assessment toolkit to effectively quantify stress in daily life. This toolkit will then be utilized to create, assess, and refine stress interventions. During the meeting the plan was forged to create a rapid response task force to swiftly develop a ‘version 0’ of our ambulatory assessment toolkit.

We are looking forward to the next hybrid and face-to-face meetings of this dynamic research team.

Read more about all three Research Themes.