OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate electronic diaries as a tool for investigating associations between physical symptoms and psychological variables. METHODS: A qualitative systematic review of electronic diary studies in pain and symptoms research was performed. RESULTS: Studies of electronic diary use report good acceptability and accuracy of data recording. A descriptive classification of the findings of electronic diary studies yielded five categories: experience, recording data when symptoms were present; interaction, testing the relationship between variables at different levels; sequential, observing associations at different time lags; process, recording possible mediating constructs such as catastrophization and self-efficacy; and intervention, recording during treatment to identify trends. Most data from diary studies suggest relatively weak associations between variables. CONCLUSION: Electronic diaries are a potentially valuable tool for psychosomatic research. We suggest further possibilities for their use

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Psychosom.Res.

Publication Date

05/2007

Volume

62

Pages

553 - 561

Keywords

acceptability, Association, classification, diary, health, intervention, methods, pain, physical, process, psychological, psychosomatic, research, review, Self Efficacy, self-efficacy, symptom, symptoms, time, treatment, trend, trends, Universities