SuperBetter shown to have #1 greatest effect for reducing depression & anxiety symptoms in meta-analyses of mental health app studies

We are proud that SuperBetter is backed by science.

One of the studies evaluating the effectiveness of SuperBetter is a randomized controlled trial conducted at the University of Pennsylvania.  In that study, participants who played SuperBetter for 30 days had significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increased optimism, self-efficacy, perceived social support and life satisfaction.

Today, only a tiny fraction of mental health & wellbeing apps have been evaluated in peer-reviewed scientific studies; however, the number of apps with studies has now grown large enough that researchers are able to conduct meta-analysis, which are studies that look across the all of the randomized controlled trials in a given area to draw conclusions. The SuperBetter UPENN study is included in two of these meta-analysis. 


The first meta-analysis looked at 18 quality randomized controlled trials that evaluated 22 smartphone apps and their effects for reducing depressive symptoms. Cumulatively, the 18 studies involved a total of 3,414 participants An overall finding of the meta-analysis is that using apps to alleviate symptoms and self-manage depression can significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to control conditions, especially for individuals with mild to moderate, rather than major depression. And, when we dug into detailed findings app-by-app, we found something really exciting. SuperBetter had the #1 greatest effect size for reducing symptoms of depression of all 22 apps included in the meta-analysis. The findings were published in World Psychiatry

“The data shows us that smartphones can help people monitor, understand and manage their own mental health. Using apps as part of an ‘integrative medicine’ approach for depression has been demonstrated to be particularly useful for improving mood and tackling symptoms in these patients,” stated Professor Jerome Sarris, a co-author of the meta-analysis, in a press release. 


The second meta-analysis examined the quality randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of smartphone-based psychological interventions on symptoms of anxiety. 9 eligible studies were included with a total of 1837 participants across these studies. The overall finding is that users experienced reductions in total anxiety after using anxiety treatment apps compared do control conditions. Here too SuperBetter had the #1 greatest effect size for reducing anxiety symptoms among all 9 apps in the meta-analysis. Results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. 

“Smartphones could be a novel way to help treat anxiety: they are now owned by the majority of people and are particularly popular with younger people,” stated Joseph Firth, research leader for the meta-analysis, in a press release. “That presents a new opportunity for psychological care provision in a non-stigmatizing, self-managing format.” 

“Looking at individual studies, we find that smartphone apps which aim to promote overall mental health and well-being, rather than focusing specifically on anxiety alone, may be most consistently effective,” he added.

This is certainly good to know. Because as those who have used SuperBetter or are familiar with it may know, as effective at alleviating symptoms of anxiety as SuperBetter has been shown to be, as a whole it seeks to improve whole-person well-being and mental health overall by boosting resilience, which is  the ability to stay strong, motivated, and optimistic even in the face of change and difficult challenges.