College of Education and Human Development wordmark.

McNair Scholar 2014Mara M. Stommes

Mara M. Stommes is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Family Social Science with minors in Leadership and Communication Studies. Her research interests include mental health and resiliency, parent-child relationships, attachment styles, and family systems. Ms. Stommes plans to pursue graduate work in a counseling related degree.

Mara M. Stommes photo
My dream is to empower and educate people to create healthy and authentic relationships with themselves and people in their lives.

Research project

Mobile Health Technologies: A Critical Review of Literature

Abstract: Mobile technology is an emerging tool increasingly used to help facilitate psychological and physical well-being. However, few studies have investigated how these apps – called mHealth apps – work. In this paper, the author presents a critical review of articles published from 2010 to 2014 that address this topic. Findings show that mHealth technologies offer unique advantages, including low cost, convenience, and personalize-ability. They are also a low- or non- stigmatizing way to self-monitor emotions, cravings, weight, etc. Consequently, samples employed in the articles reviewed were diverse and encompass a wide variety of intervention methods. Very little longitudinal data are represented in these studies, and this limits our understanding of the sustainability of their use and potential outcomes. Technical problems and concurrent engagement in other methods for self-care (e.g., social support) can impede knowledge regarding mHealth apps’ influence on said outcomes. Future studies should include larger sample sizes and utilize longitudinal designs. Due to the specific nature of these apps, community-based participatory research could provide a unique and collaborative way to create interventions for preventing health problems and/or improving them within unique populations. This effort could also consider expanding its focus beyond clinical- or community- participants, including high risk professional groups (e.g., healthcare interns and providers). Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Tai J. Mendenhall is a Medical Family Therapist and Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in the Department of Family Social Science. He earned his doctorate from the UMN and his clinical training through Wake Forest University. Dr. Mendenhall works actively in the conduct of community-based participatory research (CBPR) focused on a variety of public health issues. His principal clinical efforts center on working with families who are coping with chronic illness (e.g., dementia, diabetes, chronic pain). He, along with colleagues, has published in a variety of journals and presented at numerous professional conferences.