Feasibility and acceptability of experience sampling among LGBTQ+ young people with self-harmful thoughts and behaviours

A. Jess Williams*, Jon Arcelus, Ellen Townsend, Maria Michail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study was the first to determine whether it was feasible and acceptable
to use experience sampling methods (ESM) among LGBTQ+ young people,
who had current experiences of self-harm. Sixteen LGBTQ+ young people
(16–25 years old) took part in the experience sampling study. This included
a baseline assessment, a 7-day ESM assessment (participants were sampled
six times a day using a phone app), and the option of an interview at the
end of the 7-day ESM assessment. Feasibility data was descriptively analysed,
with pilot ESM data presented. Qualitative data was thematically analysed
to determine the acceptability (barriers and facilitators) of taking part in this
study. Study feasibility was assessed by enrolment rate (55.2%), participant
retention across assessment period (100%), ESM app feasibility (87.5%), and
good adherence to total number of ESM surveys (67.6%). Individual study
adherence ranged between 43 and 95.2%. Study acceptability was assessed
by participant interviews. Thematic analysis indicated four superordinate
themes; (i) Self-reflection and awareness; (ii) Practicalities of ESM surveys;
(iii) Daily timeframes; and (iv) Suggestions for future studies. Pilot ESM data
demonstrates that there was fluctuation of depressive and anxiety symptoms
within- and between- participants over the course of the study, however,
greater sample power is needed for full analysis. This study demonstrated that
ESM designs are feasible and acceptable among LGBTQ+ young people with
current experiences of self-harm. Pilot data indicated that specific experiences
and moods are likely to be important to self-harm. These potentially have a
temporal influence on self-harm behaviour or ideation, and therefore should
be examined in a fully powered sample.
Original languageEnglish
Article number916164
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2022

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