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Journal Description

JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting (JPP) is a new sister journal of JMIR (the leading open-access journal in health informatics (Impact Factor 2017: 4.671), with a unique focus on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics applications for patient/parent education in pediatrics, training/counselling and behavioral interventions, preventative interventions and clinical care for children and adolescent populations or child-parent dyads. JPP recognizing that pediatrics in the 21st century should be a participatory process, involving parents and informal caregivers, and using information and communication technologies.

As an open access journal, we are read by clinicians and patients alike and have (as all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews).

During a limited period of time, there are no fees to publish in this journal. Articles are carfully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission in PubMed Central.

Be a founding author of this new journal and submit your paper today!


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: moodboard; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Online Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Support for Youth with Hemophilia: Qualitative Needs Assessment


    Background: To support adolescents through transition from pediatrics to adult care, health care providers and families help teens gain knowledge and develop self-management skills. Peer mentoring can provide meaningful support and has been associated with improved health outcomes in patients with other chronic conditions. Peer mentoring is an appealing way to provide support, but it is imperative to consider the unique needs of adolescents to ensure its success. Objective: The objective of our study was to identify the peer mentoring wants and needs of youth with hemophilia in order to guide the development of a new program. Methods: In this qualitative study, we interviewed a convenience sample of youth with hemophilia from 2 Canadian hemophilia treatment centers. Two iterative cycles of audiorecorded, semistructured individual interviews were conducted. Descriptive statistics and content analyses were used to organize data into categories that reflected emerging themes. Results: In total, we recruited 23 participants aged 12-20 years, with a mean age of 14.91 (2.57) years. When asked about program design, participants weighed the importance of flexibility in delivery (eg, Web-based, in person, text messaging [short message service]), content (eg, structured vs unstructured), frequency of sessions, and length of the program. Participants identified some potential challenges such as scheduling issues, comfort level for disease discussion, and discordant mentor-mentee personality types. The program was viewed as a positive medium for connecting peers with hemophilia. Conclusions: Adolescents with hemophilia expressed interest in a peer mentoring program and provided valuable insight that will be applied in the development of a peer mentoring program for youth with hemophilia.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Maternal and Child Acceptability of a Proposed Guided Imagery Therapy Mobile App Designed to Treat Functional Abdominal Pain Disorders in Children:...


    Background: Functional abdominal pain disorders are chronic abdominal pain conditions, which affect up to 20% of children worldwide. Of the various functional abdominal pain disorder treatment modalities, psychological therapies such as guided imagery therapy appear most effective. However, there are significant barriers to receiving psychological therapies, including access to trained therapists. Alternatively, remotely delivered psychological therapies for functional abdominal pain disorders have been efficacious. Objective: The objective of our study was to assess acceptability of a proposed guided imagery therapy app designed to treat functional abdominal pain disorders through remote delivery of prerecorded audio sessions and to evaluate user preferences for using such an app. Methods: Using a mixed-methods approach, we conducted a predevelopment formative study among children aged 7 to 12 years with a functional abdominal pain disorder and their parents. The parents completed our modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) questionnaire, which quantified behavioral intention and related factors for using a guided imagery therapy app. Dyads participated in separate in-person semistructured interviews to assess their attitudes toward and preferences for a guided imagery therapy app. Questionnaire and interview findings were collected concurrently, analyzed separately, and then integrated through methods triangulation. Results: Among the 15 participating parent-child dyads, 5 (33%) children were Hispanic and 11 (73%) had irritable bowel syndrome. They had diverse socioeconomic status. All parent participants were mothers. The TAM questionnaire indicated that mothers scored favorably on behavioral intention to use a guided imagery therapy app (mean score 12.0, SD 2.6, possible range 3-15). Scores for the TAM factors perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, hedonic motivation, compatibility, and habit also were favorable. Maternal interviews confirmed positive attitudes toward the proposed app. They advocated a visual component to hold their child’s attention during the guided imagery therapy sessions; recommended incorporating background sounds into the sessions; favored session reminder notifications from the app; and thought the best time for their child to listen to the sessions would be in the evening or before bed. The child interviews also confirmed positive attitudes toward the proposed app. They suggested guided imagery therapy session topics such as sports and adventures; listening to sessions in their bedroom; and the need for parental supervision to install the app on their mobile device. Integration of the quantitative and qualitative methods findings complimented one another on acceptability. The favorable behavioral intention TAM score aligned well with expressed positive maternal and child attitudes toward the app and can be explained by the desire to avoid medications. The questionnaire and interviews also confirmed therapeutic benefit as an intrinsic motivator to promote routine use. Conclusions: A guided imagery therapy app designed to treat pediatric patients with functional abdominal pain disorders appears to be acceptable to both mothers and children. Incorporating parent and child preferences into a guided imagery therapy app could promote therapeutic compliance and increase access to optimal care.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Yanalya; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    eHealth Interventions for Anxiety Management Targeting Young Children and Adolescents: Exploratory Review


    Background: Advances in technology are progressively more relevant to the clinical practice of psychology and mental health services generally. Studies indicate that technology facilitates the delivery of interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, in the treatment of psychological disorders in adults, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic symptoms, and eating disorders. Fewer data exist for computer-based (stand-alone, self-help) and computer-assisted (in combination with face-to-face therapy, or therapist guided) programs for youth. Objective: Our objective was to summarize and critically review the literature evaluating the acceptability and efficacy of using technology with treatment and prevention programs for anxiety in young children and adolescents. The aim was to improve the understanding of what would be critical for future development of effective technology-based interventions. Methods: We conducted an exploratory review of the literature through searches in 3 scientific electronic databases (PsycINFO, ScienceDirect, and PubMed). We used keywords in various combinations: child or children, adolescent, preschool children, anxiety, intervention or treatment or program, smartphone applications or apps, online or Web-based tool, computer-based tool, internet-based tool, serious games, cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, biofeedback, and mindfulness. For inclusion, articles had to (1) employ a technological therapeutic tool with or without the guidance of a therapist; (2) be specific for treatment or prevention of anxiety disorders in children or adolescents; (3) be published between 2000 and 2018; and (4) be published in English and in scientific peer-reviewed journals. Results: We identified and examined 197 articles deemed to be relevant. Of these, we excluded 164 because they did not satisfy 1 or more of the requirements. The final review comprised 19 programs. Published studies demonstrated promising results in reducing anxiety, especially relative to the application of cognitive behavioral therapy with technology. For those programs demonstrating efficacy, no difference was noted when compared with traditional interventions. Other approaches have been applied to technology-based interventions with inconclusive results. Most programs were developed to be used concurrently with traditional treatments and lacked long-term evaluation. Very little has been done in terms of prevention interventions. Conclusions: Future development of eHealth programs for anxiety management in children will have to address several unmet needs and overcome key challenges. Although developmental stages may limit the applicability to preschool children, prevention should start in early ages. Self-help formats and personalization are highly relevant for large-scale dissemination. Automated data collection should be built in for program evaluation and effectiveness assessment. And finally, a strategy to stimulate motivation to play and maintain high adherence should be carefully considered.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The Rise of New Alcoholic Games Among Adolescents and the Consequences in the Emergency Department: Observational Retrospective Study


    Background: The links between the internet and teenager behavior are difficult situations to control and may lead to the development of new and excessive methods of drinking alcohol during alcoholic games. Findings indicate that reported cases are very useful sources for better understanding of alcoholic games, yielding successful measures promoting health among adolescents. Admittance of adolescents to hospital emergency departments (EDs) after consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol has become the norm in developed countries. The harmful effects of acute alcohol abuse are reported in this paper. Objective: The aim of this work was to investigate the close connections between new drinking behaviors among adolescents and study the increase in new alcoholic games, together with the challenges that cause acute alcohol intoxication, the influence of the internet and social networks, and their consequences for public health services. Methods: Data came from prehospital and intrahospital admissions attributable to alcohol consumption. From 2013 to 2015, 3742 patients were admitted to EDs due to acute alcohol intoxication: 830 of them were aged 15 to 30 years, and 225 were adolescents and young adults between 15 and 20 years who had been playing alcoholic games. Retrospectively, diagnostic data associated with extrahospital anamneses were selected by one of the hospital management information systems, Qlik. As a result of our previous experience, questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were performed at a later stage, when a clinical audit for intoxicated adolescent patients was described, with the overall goal of establishing a potential methodological workflow and adding important information to research carried out so far. Results: Between 2013 and 2015, 830 young patients aged 15 to 30 years were admitted to EDs for acute alcohol intoxication. About 20% (166/830) of the sample confirmed that they had drunk more than 5 alcoholic units within 2 hours twice during the past 30 days as a result of binge drinking. Referring to new alcoholic games, 41% of the sample stated that they knew what neknomination is and also that at least one of their friends had accepted this challenge, describing symptoms such as vomiting, headache, altered behavior, increased talkativeness, and sociability. The median value of the weighted average cost of the diagnosis-related group relating to interventions provided by hospitals was the same for both genders, €46,091 (US $56,497; minimum €17,349 and maximum €46,091). Conclusions: Drinking games encourage young people to consume large quantities of alcohol within a short period of time putting them at risk of alcohol poisoning, which can potentially lead to accidental injuries, unsafe sex, suicide, sexual assault, and traffic accidents. The spread of these games through the internet and social networks is becoming a serious health problem facing physicians and medical professionals every day, especially in the ED; for this reason, it is necessary to be aware of the risks represented by such behaviors in order to recognize and identify preliminary symptoms and develop useful prevention programs. The strategic role of emergency services is to monitor and define the problem right from the start in order to control the epidemic, support planning, coordinate the delivery of assistance in the emergency phase, and provide medical education. Hospital-based interdisciplinary health care researchers collected specific data on hazardous drinking practices linked to evaluation of increased alcohol-related consequences and cases admitted to the ED.

  • Mom and child baking in kitchen. Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Anna Prosekova; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Clustering of Obesity-Related Risk Behaviors Among Families With Preschool Children Using a Socioecological Approach: Cross-Sectional Study

    Authors List:


    Background: Limited attention has been given to assessing home environments of parents with preschool-aged children using a socioecological approach to better understand potential influencers of obesity risk. Objective: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the clustering of obesity-related risk behaviors among mothers with preschool children. Methods: Mothers with preschool-aged children (ages 2 to 5 years) who participated in the online Home Obesogenic Measure of Environments (HOMES) survey were examined in clustering of four healthy recommended behaviors (ie, mother’s fruit and vegetable intake ≥5 per day, sedentary screen time <4 hours per day, sugar-sweetened beverage intake <1 time/day, and increased physical activity level). Frequencies and percents of the clustering variables were conducted along with Spearman rank order correlations to determine significant associations. Ward’s method with squared Euclidean distances were performed for the cluster analysis using the four standardized continuous variables. Identification of total cluster number was determined by visually inspecting the dendogram. Sociodemographic, intrapersonal, social environment, and home physical environment characteristic differences between cluster groups were further examined by independent t tests and chi-square analysis to validate findings. Results: Of the 496 participants (72.6%, 360/496 white; age mean 32.36, SD 5.68 years), only a third (37.1%, 184/496) consumed five or more servings of fruits/vegetables daily, had low sedentary screen time of <4 hours/day, and reported moderate to high levels of physical activity (34.1%, 169/496). More than half (57.7%, 286/496) consumed <1 sugar-sweetened beverage serving daily. A positive correlation (r=.34, P<.001) between physical activity level and fruit/vegetable intake (≥5 servings/day), and a positive correlation (r=.15, P=.001) between low sedentary screen time (<4 hours/day) and low sugar-sweetened beverage intake (<1 serving/day) were found. Ward’s hierarchical analysis revealed a two-cluster solution: less healthy/inactive moms (n=280) and health conscious/active moms (n=216). Health conscious/active moms were significantly (P<.010) likely to be more physically active, have lower sedentary screen time, lower daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, and greater daily intake of fruits and vegetables compared to less healthy/inactive moms. Less healthy/inactive moms were significantly more likely to have a higher body mass index and waist circumference compared to the other cluster; however, there were no significant sociodemographic differences. There were many intrapersonal (eg, importance of physical activity for child and self) and home physical environment (eg, home availability of fruits/vegetables and salty/fatty snacks) characteristic differences between clusters, but few significant differences emerged for social environment characteristics (eg, family meals, family cohesion). Conclusions: Findings may have implications in tailoring future obesity prevention interventions among families with young children.

  • Source:; Copyright:; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Combining Activity Trackers With Motivational Interviewing and Mutual Support to Increase Physical Activity in Parent-Adolescent Dyads: Longitudinal...


    Background: An essential component of any effective adolescent weight management program is physical activity (PA). PA levels drop dramatically in adolescence, contributing to the rising prevalence of adolescent obesity. Therefore, finding innovative interventions to address this decline in PA may help adolescents struggling with weight issues. The growing field of health technology provides potential solutions for addressing chronic health issues and lifestyle change, such as adolescent obesity. Activity trackers, used in conjunction with smartphone apps, can engage, motivate, and foster support among users while simultaneously providing feedback on their PA progress. Objective: The objective of our study was to evaluate the effect of a 10-week pilot study using smartphone-enabled activity tracker data to tailor motivation and goal setting on PA for overweight and obese adolescents and their parents. Methods: We queried enrolled adolescents, aged 14 to 16 years, with a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile, and 1 of their parents as to behaviors, barriers to change, and perceptions about exercise and health before and after the intervention. We captured daily step count and active minutes via activity trackers. Staff made phone calls to dyads at weeks 1, 2, 4, and 8 after enrollment to set daily personalized step-count and minutes goals based on their prior data and age-specific US national guidelines. We evaluated dyad correlations using nonparametric Spearman rank order correlations. Results: We enrolled 9 parent-adolescent dyads. Mean adolescent age was 15 (SD 0.9) years (range 14-16 years; 4 female and 5 male participants); mean parent age was 47 (SD 8.0) years (range 36-66 years). On average, adolescents met their personalized daily step-count goals on 35% (range 11%-62%) of the days they wore their trackers; parents did so on 39% (range 3%-68%) of the days they wore their trackers. Adolescents met their active-minutes goals on 55% (range 27%-85%) of the days they wore their trackers; parents did so on 83% (range 52%-97%) of the days. Parent and adolescent success was strongly correlated (step count: r=.36, P=.001; active minutes: r=.30, P=.007). Parental age was inversely correlated with step-count success (r=–.78, P=.01). Conclusions: Our findings illustrate that parent-adolescent dyads have highly correlated PA success rates. This supports further investigation of family-centered weight management interventions for adolescents, particularly those that involve the parent and the adolescent working together.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Royalty-Free/Corbis; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA).

    Adolescents’ Perspectives on Using Technology for Health: Qualitative Study


    Background: Adolescents’ wide use of technology opens up opportunities to integrate technology into health visits and health care. In particular, technology has the potential to influence adolescent behavior change by offering new avenues for provider communication and support for healthy choices through many different platforms. However, little information exists to guide the integration of technology into adolescent health care, especially adolescents’ perspectives and preferences for what they find useful. Objective: This qualitative study aimed to take a broad approach to understanding adolescents’ use of technology for supporting their overall health and to understand whether and how adolescents envision using technology to enhance their health and clinical care, particularly in communicating with their provider. Methods: Adolescents (13-18 years) were recruited to participate in semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews. Potential participants were approached in-person through the Seattle Children's Hospital Adolescent Medicine Clinic while they were waiting for consultation appointments, through outreach to youth who expressed interest in other local research study activities, and via flyers in waiting rooms. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. Results: Thirty-one adolescents (58% female, mean age 15.2 years) were interviewed and described 3 main uses of technology: (1) to gather information, (2a) to share their own experiences and (2b) view others’ experiences in order to gain social support or inspiration, and (3) to track behaviors and health goals. Perceived benefits and potential downsides were identified for technology use. Teens desired to use technology with their provider for 3 main reasons: (1) have questions answered outside of visits, (2) have greater access to providers as a way to build relationship/rapport, and (3) share data regarding behaviors in between visits. Social media was not a preferred method for communicating with providers for any of the youth due to concerns about privacy and intrusiveness. Conclusions: Although youth are avid users of technology in general, in regard to technology for health, they display specific use preferences especially in how they wish to use it to communicate with their primary care provider. Health care providers should offer guidance to youth with regard to how they have used and plan to use technology and how to balance potential positives and negatives of use. Technology developers should take youth preferences into account when designing new health technology and incorporate ways they can use it to communicate with their health care provider.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Theoretically-Based Emotion Regulation Strategies Using a Mobile App and Wearable Sensor Among Homeless Adolescent Mothers: Acceptability and Feasibility Study


    Background: Many adolescent mothers are parenting young children under highly stressful conditions as they are managing first-time parenthood, poverty, lack of housing, school and work, and challenging peer and familial relationships. Mobile health (mHealth) technology has the potential to intervene at various points in the emotion regulation process of adolescent mothers to provide them support for more adaptive emotional and behavioral regulation in the course of their daily life. Objective: The goal of this study was to examine the acceptability, feasibility, use patterns, and mechanisms by which a mobile technology used as an adjunct to in-person, provider-delivered sessions fostered adolescent mothers’ adaptive emotion regulation strategies under real-life conditions. Methods: Participants (N=49) were enrolled in the intervention condition of a larger pilot study of homeless adolescent mothers living in group-based shelters. The mHealth technology, Calm Mom, consisted of a mobile app and a wrist-worn sensorband for the ambulatory measurement and alerting of increased electrodermal activity (EDA), a physiological measurement of stress. We examined logs of mobile app activity and conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with a subsample (N=10) of participants. Qualitative data analysis was guided by the theoretical frames of the intervention and a technology acceptance model and included an analysis of emerging themes and concepts. Results: Overall, participants indicated that one or more of the elements of Calm Mom supported their ability to effectively regulate their emotions in the course of their daily life in ways that were consonant with the intervention’s theoretical model. For many adolescent mothers, the app became an integral tool for managing stress. Due to technical challenges, fewer participants received sensorband alerts; however, those who received alerts reported high levels of acceptability as the technology helped them to identify their emotions and supported them in engaging in more adaptive behaviors during real-life stressful situations with their children, peers, and family members. Conclusions: Calm Mom is a promising technology for providing theoretically driven behavioral intervention strategies during real-life stressful moments among a highly vulnerable population. Future research efforts will involve addressing technology challenges and refining tailoring algorithms for implementation in larger-scale studies.

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  • The Impact of Exercise Intensity Feed-back via Technology for Children during Active Play

    Date Submitted: Jun 27, 2018

    Open Peer Review Period: Jun 29, 2018 - Aug 24, 2018

    Background: Most children do not engage in enough exercise at the recommended intensity. Using technological devices might increase the time children spend at greater intensities while exercising. Obj...

    Background: Most children do not engage in enough exercise at the recommended intensity. Using technological devices might increase the time children spend at greater intensities while exercising. Objective: To determine if children receiving instant feedback of their exercise intensity, via technology, would spend more time in moderate-vigorous intensity (≥70% of maximum capacity) during active play sessions. We also aimed to explore if the children’s physical characteristics were associated with the average percentage of maximal HR reached during sessions. Methods: Twenty children aged 5 to 11 years received feedback for two random sessions and did not for the other two out of 15 possible active play sessions. When receiving feed-back, color-coded intensity based on heart rate (HR) was projected onto a wall; green corresponded to moderate intensity (≥70% of max HR) and red corresponded to a HR below moderate intensity. Age, anthropometric measures, muscle strength, body composition, physical activity level and fitness level were measured. Results: The average percentage of maximal HR during a session was not different when having feedback or not (70.7 ± 6.4% vs. 71.1 ± 4.1%; P=0.93). No personal characteristics were associated with the average intensity recorded during the exercise sessions. Conclusions: Receiving instant exercise intensity feedback is not associated with a greater proportion of time spent at moderate intensity or above in children aged 5 to 11 years when involved in an active play program. Personal characteristics are not associated with the intensity recorded when participating in

  • Understanding the connection between parental self-efficacy and child nutrition, activity, and weight

    Date Submitted: Jun 15, 2018

    Open Peer Review Period: Jun 20, 2018 - Aug 15, 2018

    Background: Concern over childhood obesity has driven research to focus on prevention and intervention strategies to curb the epidemic. Parental factors like efficacy have gained attention as this con...

    Background: Concern over childhood obesity has driven research to focus on prevention and intervention strategies to curb the epidemic. Parental factors like efficacy have gained attention as this concept is grounded in behavioral change research. Studies have linked self-efficacy to improved child health behaviors like eating a more nutritious diet and engaging increased physical activity. This leads to a need to examine parental efficacy literature to examine its relationship to childhood obesity. Objective: This review sought to understand how parental self-efficacy has been described in the literature, what scales have been used to measure it, and if it is linked to improvements in child weight or health outcomes. Methods: Six databases including the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, CINAHL, PubMed, Psychinfo, EBSCOhost, and Onesearch were searched for original research studies examining parental self-efficacy and child health measures like diet, activity, or weight. Results: Only 16 articles were found that met criteria. This limited research did showcase that higher parental self-efficacy levels are linked to positive effects, especially regarding improved child diet. There is also evidence of an inverse relationship between higher self-efficacy and lower child weights and higher self-efficacy and improved child activity levels, though this was not uniformly found. This review also showcased significant variance in how self-efficacy is measured and how it is used within studies. Conclusions: Connections between parental self-efficacy and child healthy behaviors has been established in multiple studies. However, this remains an under-examined area that needs further study to understand how it can be used to improve interventions.