Abstract

Previous research suggests an important role for self-tracking in promoting mental wellness. Recent studies with college student populations have examined the feasibility of collecting everyday mood, activity, and social data. However, these studies do not account for students’ experiences and challenges adopting self-tracking technologies to support mental wellness goals. We present two studies conducted to better understand self-tracking for stress management and mental wellness in student populations. First, focus groups and card sorting activities with 14 student health professionals reveal expert perspectives on the usefulness of tracking for three scenarios. Second, an online survey of 297 students examines personal experiences with selftracking and attitudes toward sharing self-tracked data with others. We draw on findings from these studies to characterize students’ motivations, challenges, and preferences in collecting and viewing self-tracked data related to mental wellness, and we compare findings between students with diagnosed mental illnesses and those without. We conclude with a discussion of challenges and opportunities in leveraging self-tracking for mental wellness, highlighting several design considerations.