Mobile devices for the remote acquisition of physiological and behavioral biomarkers in psychiatric clinical research

Zachary W. Adams, Erin A. McClure, Kevin M. Gray, Carla Kmett Danielson, Frank A. Treiber, Kenneth J. Ruggiero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Psychiatric disorders are linked to a variety of biological, psychological, and contextual causes and consequences. Laboratory studies have elucidated the importance of several key physiological and behavioral biomarkers in the study of psychiatric disorders, but much less is known about the role of these biomarkers in naturalistic settings. These gaps are largely driven by methodological barriers to assessing biomarker data rapidly, reliably, and frequently outside the clinic or laboratory. Mobile health (mHealth) tools offer new opportunities to study relevant biomarkers in concert with other types of data (e.g., self-reports, global positioning system data). This review provides an overview on the state of this emerging field and describes examples from the literature where mHealth tools have been used to measure a wide array of biomarkers in the context of psychiatric functioning (e.g., psychological stress, anxiety, autism, substance use). We also outline advantages and special considerations for incorporating mHealth tools for remote biomarker measurement into studies of psychiatric illness and treatment and identify several specific opportunities for expanding this promising methodology. Integrating mHealth tools into this area may dramatically improve psychiatric science and facilitate highly personalized clinical care of psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Biosensors
  • Clinical research
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Mobile health
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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