WP2: Set-up of mobile app and website platform with a centralised database and development of behavioural monitoring techniques

The clinical partners provided their wish-list for the app, and based on them a set of features were extracted. The features have been prioritized by the clinical and development sides. The app deveplment has been started and weekly meetings are organized to review the developed features. Moreover, two web-based audio recording have been develop to test the audEERING tools for the web-recording and test the quality of the recorded audio, as well as synchronisation of recording tools with other physiological devices. A solution description was created and refined throughout period. Development of app continued. At end of period the app development was approx. 60% completed. Production of animation videos commenced in November. A concept for framework has been developed that lets the users record voice samples related to the event reporting, gives an statistic estimate on emotional expression to the user directly in the app and at a personalized website for later inspection.

A table for gamification was produced that includes the events to be recognized and how many experience points and emotional fitness points are awarded for each activity.


WP3-5: Assessment and Intervention

The content of the app relies on the Emotional Competence Process model developed by Scherer et al. (2007) distinguishing three component processes: 1) the appropriate emotion production (accurate and realistic appraisal), 2) adequate coping and regulation abilities (reappraisal, downregulation, control of expressions and action impulses) and 3) adequate emotion knowledge (awareness, recognition and understanding). Deficits in each component are associated with maladaptive emotion regulation and increased psychopathology. The aim of the ECoWeB project is to identify and target those transdiagnostic mechanisms for increasing mental well-being and prevent psychological disorders in young people. Firstly, in a personalized medicine approach a systematic assessment of personal Emotional Competence (EC) profiles is administered. Secondly those profiles are used to select targeted interventions that are based on the three component processes (appraisal, regulation, and knowledge). We hypothesize that young people will benefit in their mental well-being and mental health by training relevant EC skills that were matched to their individual profiles. In four work packages (WP3b, WP3c, WP4 and WP5) four interventions covering the component process model are developed and described in more detail below.

  • WP3a: There is general agreement that emotion episodes are elicited by the pattern of cognitive appraisal of emotion eliciting events or situations (Scherer, 2001; 2009). In addition, several theoretical proposals in the literature suggest the existence of stable trait emotion or affect and the important role of attribution and appraisal biases may have in the etiology of such dispositions. In line with empirical results from earlier work (e.g., Scherer et. al., 2004), the WP leader has presented recent data, obtained with a novel Emotion Disposition Scale (EmoDis), justifying the claim that there are emotion dispositions in the sense that individuals may have the tendency to react with specific emotions to different events more frequently and with higher intensity. There is also evidence that these dispositions are related to different aspects of stable personality and emotional competence (Scherer, 2019). WP3a pursues and extends these efforts to obtain further empirical evidence for this phenomenon for the group of young adults. Such work is all the more important, as there are key implications for diagnostic applications in clinical settings, for example, the possibility of using the existence of appraisal bias as an indicator for risk factors for affective disturbances such as depression and anxiety disorders (Kaiser & Scherer, 1998; Mehu & Scherer, 2015; Roseman & Kaiser, 2001; Scherer & Brosch, 2009). A central issue consists of establishing markers for appraisal biases that can be considered dysfunctional and potentially leading to increased risk for affective disorders. Therefore, research that combines the approach to measuring appraisal tendencies with the administration of instruments designed to detect risk for depression and anxiety disorders is urgently needed. In a preliminary study, using a precursor of the EmoDis instrument to be further developed in WP3a, significant relationships with the Depression/Anxiety/Stress scale (DASS) were found (Gentsch et al., 2015).
  • WP3b: Throughout their educational careers, young people face various emotional and achievement-related challenges. As a consequence, students report to frequently experience negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, boredom and shame in achievement contexts (Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002). Emotions tied directly to achievement activities (e.g., studying) or achievement outcomes (success and failure) are defined as achievement emotions. The aim of WP3b is to create an intervention to promote positive and reduce negative achievement emotions. The intervention is theoretically based on the control-value theory of achievement emotions (CVT; Pekrun, 2006; Pekrun & Perry, 2014). According to the CVT, the arousal of achievement emotions is mainly due to two types of appraisals – perceived control and perceived value of achievement activities and their outcomes. In case of low perceived control, a lack of positive value or excessively high negative value we assume that more adaptive control and value will promote positive and reduce negative achievement emotions. For this purpose, we will combine principles from three established treatment approaches attributional retraining (e.g., Hall, Perry, Chipperfield, Clifton, & Haynes, 2006), growth mindset intervention (e.g., Paunesku et al., 2015), and utility-value intervention (e.g., Hulleman & Harackiewicz, 2009). Attributional retraining and growth mindset intervention have an impact on perceived control and utility-value intervention affects perceived value. Besides affecting achievement emotions we expect that the intervention will reduce drop-out rates, increase performance in academic and occupational settings and improve mental well-being.
  • WP3c: Social situations and the way a person appraises these (especially ambiguous ones) can vary greatly. For many, meeting friends, being in school or at work is often rewarding and enjoyable. However, there are sometimes challenging social situations, in which a person can get uncertain and anxious about what others say, think and feel about him/her. WP3c focusses on detecting people that have a tendency to appraise social situations negatively and give them tools that can help to improve their appraisal style. To do so, we are developing an innovative, autonomous self-help appraisal-related mobile app. In it, state of the art scientific results will be translated into easily usable, short paced interventions that explicitly and implicitly help to improve how a person thinks in social situations. We have adapted existing versions of the proven effective CBM interventions and translate these to the smartphone-realm. Experimental pilot is currently under preparation and  will be conducted to suitably adapt the CBM interventions to the target age group (16-22 years), to test the feasibility of delivery via app, and to determine how best to (and whether to) associate the CBM-I with an ecologically-valid peer-related stressor. In addition, using the specific benefits of smartphones and their ubiquitous availability and variety of input and output channels, newly developed interventions focusing on social appraisal have been designed and will be introduced in the ECOWEB project.
  • WP4 – Emotion Regulation: The aim of WP4 is the development of innovative assessment instruments and the adaptation of a preventive intervention related to the regulation component of the Emotional Competence Process model (Scherer, 2007) for mobile application use. We aim to increase well-being and reduce risk for developing mental disorders in young people by identifying difficulties in emotion regulation and providing training to improve emotion regulation. Our work package will focus specifically on repetitive negative thinking, which encompasses rumination – the tendency to repeatedly dwell on problems and feelings, and excessive worry – thinking about potentially negative future events (Ehring & Watkins, 2008). Converging evidence shows that repetitive negative thinking is a particularly maladaptive form of emotion regulation and that it is a promising target for prevention (Topper, Emmelkamp, & Ehring, 2010; Wilkinson, Croudace, & Goodyer, 2013). Our intervention is based on an existing intervention by Watkins et al. (Rumination-focused cognitive behavioural therapy; 2007), which has been shown to efficiently prevent mental disorders (Topper, Emmelkamp, Watkins, & Ehring, 2017). Furthermore, we aim to assess repetitive negative thinking in young people using ecological momentary assessment (Shiffman, Stone, & Hufford, 2008; Trull & Ebner-Priemer, 2013) to identify young people who will benefit from our prevention.
  • WP5 – Emotion Knowledge I: The more we understand the emotional process, the better equipped we are at managing our social and professional lives. The focus of WP5 is to create assessment instruments and interventions related to the ability to perceive, understand, predict, and manage emotion processes in the self and in other people. The Component Process Model (Scherer et al. 2007) proposes that the emotional process is made up of interactions between 5 components (appraisals, action tendencies, bodily reactions, motor expressions, subjective feelings). WP5 will develop a training to teach young people about these different facets of the emotional experience. WP5 advances the state-of-the-art by training emotion competence skills directly.


Ehring, T., & Watkins, E. (2008). Repetitive Negative Thinking as a Transdiagnostic Process. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 1(3), 192–205. https://doi.org/10.1680/ijct.2008.1.3.192

Gentsch, K., Hartmann, P., Becker-Kure, B., Pekrun, R., Mehu, M., & Scherer K. R. (2015, May). Testing the appraisal bias model of cognitive vulnerability in daily life and achievement situations. Poster presented at the 27th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), New York, United States.

Hall, N. C., Perry, R. P., Chipperfield, J. G., Clifton, R. A., & Haynes, T. L. (2006). Enhancing primary and secondary control in achievement settings through writing–based attributional retraining. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25(4), 361-391.

Hulleman, C. S., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2009). Promoting interest and performance in high school science classes. Science, 326(5958), 1410-1412.

Kaiser, S. & Scherer, K. R. (1998). Models of ‘normal’ emotions applied to facial and vocal expressions in clinical disorders. In W. F. Flack, Jr. & J. D. Laird (Eds.). Emotions in psychopathology (pp. 81-98). New York: Oxford University Press.

Mehu, M. & Scherer, K. R. (2015). The appraisal bias model of cognitive vulnerability to depression. Emotion Review, 7, 272-279.

Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological science, 26(6), 784-793.

Pekrun, R. (2006). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: Assumptions, corollaries, and implications for educational research and practice. Educational Psychology Review, 18(4), 315–341.

Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R. P. (2002). Academic emotions in students’ self-regulated learning and achievement: A program of qualitative and quantitative research. Educational Psychologist, 37(2), 91–105.

Pekrun, R., & Perry, R. P. (2014). Control-value theory of achievement emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International handbook of emotions in education (pp. 120-141). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Roseman, I. J., & Kaiser, S. (2001). Applications of appraisal theory to understanding, diagnosis, and treating emotional pathology. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion: Theory, methods, research (pp. 249–267). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Scherer, K. R. (2001). Appraisal considered as a process of multi-level sequential checking. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone (Eds.). Appraisal processes in emotion: Theory, methods, research (pp. 92–120). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Scherer, K. R., Wranik, T., Sangsue, J., Tran, V., & Scherer, U. (2004). Emotions in everyday life: Probability of occurrence, risk factors, appraisal and reaction pattern. Social Science Information, 43(4), 499-570.

Scherer, K. R. (2007). Componential Emotion Theory can inform models of emotional competence. In G. Matthews, M. Zeidner, & R. R. D (Eds.), Series in affective science. The Science of Emotional Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns (pp. 101–126). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Scherer, K. R. (2009). The dynamic architecture of emotion: Evidence for the component process model. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 1307–1351.

Scherer, K.R., & Brosch, T. (2009). Culture-specific appraisal biases contribute to emotion dispositions. European Journal of Personality, 23, 265-288.

Scherer, K. R. & Mehu, M. (2015). Normal and abnormal emotions—The quandary of diagnosing affective disorder: Introduction and overview. Emotion Review, 7, 201–203.

Scherer, K. R. (2019). Evidence for the Existence of Emotion Dispositions and the Effects of Appraisal Bias. Manuscript submitted for publication. Preprint PsyArXiv DOI https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/sntcr

Shiffman, S., Stone, A. A., & Hufford, M. (2008). Ecological Momentary Assessment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 4, 1–32. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118384404.ch20

Topper, M., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., & Ehring, T. (2010). Improving prevention of depression and anxiety disorders: Repetitive negative thinking as a promising target. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 14(1–4), 57–71.

Topper, M., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., Watkins, E., & Ehring, T. (2017). Prevention of anxiety disorders and depression by targeting excessive worry and rumination in adolescents and young adults: A randomized controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 90, 123–136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2016.12.015

Trull, T. J., & Ebner-Priemer, U. (2013). Ambulatory Assessment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 151–176. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185510

Watkins, E. R., Mullan, E., Wingrove, J., Rimes, K., Steiner, H., Bathurst, N., … Scott, J. (2007). Rumination-focused cognitive behaviour therapy for residual depression: a case series. Behavior Research and Therapy, 45(9), 2144–2154.

Wilkinson, P. O., Croudace, T. J., & Goodyer, I. M. (2013). Rumination, anxiety, depressive symptoms and subsequent depression in adolescents at risk for psychopathology: A longitudinal cohort study, 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-13-250


WP8: Implementation Science

Work package 8 will focus on how the App that is developed is actually used in the different countries and by the different users. It will do this by interviewing young people as well as different stakeholders – be they parents, teachers and health care professionals- about their experience of finding the app and their impressions of its use. The main focus of this work will be to try and identify barriers and facilitators for the App being used and therefore to find out how to improve the way it is accessed and used. We will have a special focus on populations who do not traditionally access mental health supports easily, such as migrant youth.


WP9: Communication and Dissemination

Work package 9 will focus on working with young people to develop clear guidelines and recommendations with respect to the implementation of the App intervention. A key overt aim of this project is to make the app of use and value to young people. For this reason, we will include youth in decision making, creating and coordinating Youth Advisory Boards in each of the countries where the trial is conducted. Also, WP9 will focus on dissemination of the project and project findings to relevant stakeholders through social media campaigns, scientific publication and conferences, and activities. WP9 will ensure that the knowledge and ECoWeB products created in the course of the project are made available in suitable ways to key actors/collaborators, stakeholders, end-user groups, policy makers and the scientific community.