Current Landscape of Ecological Momentary Assessment (Real-Time Data) Methodology in Cancer Research: A Systematic Review

C. Paterson, L. Armitage, M. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: To critically synthesize and describe the use and methods of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) in cancer research. Data Sources: A systematic review was conducted and has been reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) Guideline. Electronic databases (APA PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science Core Collection) were searched using a variety of keywords and subject headings by an expert systematic review librarian. All publications were double screened by two reviewers using predetermined exclusion and inclusion criteria throughout the full review process. The review used Covidence Systematic Review Software. Methodological quality assessment and data extraction were performed. A narrative synthesis was conducted to examine the aim for EMA, the characteristics of the study samples, the EMA sampling procedures, EMA completion rates, outcome measures, and any implications of findings for survivorship care. Conclusion: A total of 42 EMA studies in cancer were included. Most studies used an electronic mobile device to capture EMA data apart from several that used paper diaries. Existing studies were found to have significant heterogeneity in methods and widely varying approaches to design and self-report measurements. While EMA in cancer research holds significant promise to advance cancer care research into the future by increasing ecological validity and reducing retrospective bias and can capture the unique idiographic within-person change over time, in real-time, further research is needed to develop standardized EMA self-report questionnaires. Implications for Nursing Practice: This is the first comprehensive systematic review to describe the use and methods of EMA in cancer research. There is significant heterogeneity in methods and widely varying approaches to design and self-report measurements in EMA cancer research. People affected by cancer found taking part in EMA studies reported benefit from the experience. However, researchers must engage with cancer survivors in the development and co-design of future EMA questionnaires to ensure relevant and acceptability of EMA data collection protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151514
JournalSeminars in Oncology Nursing
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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