Publication Date

8-2016

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-23-2016

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Health Science, Evaluation and Research

Department

Community and Environmental Health

Major Advisor

Sarah E. Toevs, Ph.D.

Advisor

Kim Martz, Ph.D., RN

Advisor

Uwe Reischl, Ph.D., M.D.

Abstract

While advance care planning (ACP) is generally acknowledged as an important health activity, there is little research on ACP engagement amongst otherwise healthy young adults. The current study aimed to determine whether using a new mobile application designed for ACP, called Willoop™, had any impact on Boise State University students’ perceptions of ACP concepts and readiness to engage in ACP activities including designating a health agent, creating a living will, and discussing care wishes with a loved one. A convenience sample of 99 students enrolled into the study and were invited to test Willoop™ on their mobile device and subsequently take an anonymous online survey. Twenty-one participants completed the survey. The findings suggest that young adults are aware of ACP concepts but are not typically ready to engage in ACP activities, consistent with previous literature. In addition, Willoop™ may improve familiarity and comfort with ACP concepts and may increase readiness to engage in ACP activities. The conclusions drawn from these findings must be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size and other study limitations, but further research is warranted. Accurately describing the readiness and willingness to engage in ACP activities is a first step in informing and improving interventions, such as Willoop™, that aim to increase levels of ACP engagement in the population as a whole.

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