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“A great way to start the conversation”: Evidence for the Use of an Adolescent Mental Health Chatbot Navigator for Youth at Risk of HIV and other STIs

posted on 2022-11-16, 22:45 authored by Gabriella Sanabria, Karah Y. Greene, Jennifer T. Tran, Shelton Gilyard, Lauren DiGiovanni, Patricia J. Emmanuel, Lisa J. Sanders, Kristin Kosyluk, Jerome GaleaJerome Galea

Chatbot use is increasing for mobile health interventions on sensitive and stigmatized topics like mental health because of their anonymity and privacy. This anonymity provides acceptability to sexual and gendered minority youth (ages 16-24) at increased risk of HIV and other STIs with poor mental health due to higher levels of stigma, discrimination, and social isolation. This study evaluates the usability of Tabatha-YYC, a pilot chatbot navigator created to link these youth to mental health resources. Tabatha-YYC was developed using a Youth Advisory Board (n=7), and the final design underwent user testing (n=20) through a think-aloud protocol, semi-structured interview, and a brief survey post-exposure which included the Health Information Technology Usability Evaluation Scale. The chatbot was found to be an acceptable mental health navigator by participants. This study provides important design methodology considerations and key insights into chatbot design preferences of youth at risk of STIs seeking mental health resources.  


This study was funded by internal funds allocated to JTG and KK from the University of South Florida.


Declaration of conflicts of interest


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Lead author country

  • United States

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

University of South Florida School of Social Work

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The study was approved by the University of South Florida’s Institutional Review Board.

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