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Journal Article


Allan DD. Behav. Inform. Technol. 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






The rising surge of work-related stress is particularly severe among small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner-managers, and has been linked to an array of deleterious consequences, such as burnout, venture failure, and suicide. Sadly, the majority of available stress management interventions appear to be ill-suited to owner-managers. Prior work, however, suggests that mobile phone-based messaging conversational agents (CAs) may hold promise for delivering mental health interventions to underserved groups such as the self-employed. Furthermore, recent research with SMEs finds that altering one's stress mindset-beliefs about the extent to which stress might be enhancing or debilitating can change one's responses to stress. Against this backdrop, the present study assessed the effectiveness and acceptability of a first-of-its-kind mobile messaging-based conversational agent-led stress mindset intervention (mCASMI) for Aotearoa New Zealand SME owner-managers. The mCASMI was delivered over 4-days via WhatsApp Messenger. The results confirmed that the mCASMI was successful in altering participants' mindsets about stress, in conjunction with self-reported improvements in productivity and work performance. The owner-managers who received the intervention were engaged, adherent, and reported a high degree of rapport with the CA. Though preliminary, these findings extend the state-of-the-art and suggest progressing with a larger-scale feasibility study. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Language: en


New zealand; stress; stress management; Stress management; conversational agent; Conversational agents; Enterprise resource planning; Human-agent interaction; human–agent interaction; Mobile agents; Mobile messaging; Owner/manager; small business; Small business; Small to medium-sized enterprise; Stress mindset; Telecommunication services; Work-related stress


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