Objective: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the content, appropriateness, understandability and usability of the smartphone app among a sample of college students
Methods: An online survey using the Qualtrics platform was designed to illicit feedback regarding the app from college students. Participants were recruited via in person events at local college, university and community events, as well as online via social media. Descriptive and comparative analysis was completed using SPSS Version 23.
Findings: In total, 49 college students completed survey measures. The majority were female (n=41, 83.7%), white (n=34, 69.4%) and non-Hispanic (n=41, 83.7%). Age ranged from 18-29, with a median age of 22. Approximately half of participants attended 4 year colleges or universities (n=26, 53.1%) while the other 46.9% attended a 2 year college or trade school. Participants rated the app highly (>4 on a 5 point scale) on ease of use, design and understandability. They rated the overall relevance of the app slightly lower (3.91). Of the specific content sections, participants rated the usefulness of the section titled, “What if I have been forced to have sex” the lowest (3.98) and “What if I am concerned about a friend” the highest (4.18). Embedded resources in the app included local and national hotline numbers, all of which were rated more highly than specific content sections related to having experienced physical or sexual violence. Differences were noted in usefulness ratings between males and female students with female students rating certain resources as more useful than their male counterparts. A similar trend was noted with students at 2-year institutions rating certain resources (GPS directions to the hospital, Medical and STI care) more highly than students at 4-year institutions.
Implications: Our findings are consistent with research showing the potential usefulness of a smartphone app for sharing health related information, however they also highlight the challenge of engaging college students in efforts to prevent and respond to dating and sexual violence. Despite growing policy and media attention, students rated the relevance of sexual violence information to themselves and their peers less high than they rated the individual content aspects of the app.