• Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are some commonly asked questions.

    Why should I participate in this study? Will I get paid?

    You won't receive compensation, but you will be contributing to science!

    Because we are trying to recruit thousands of participants, it is not possible to pay everyone. Also, because we are not collecting any identifying information, we won't know who you are to be able to pay you.


    You can feel good about knowing that you are contributing to the science of mood, PTSD, and mobile health. You may also benefit from tracking your mood and seeing patterns over time. Your data will also be used to help develop free, publicly available apps that support mental health and wellbeing.

    Will the researchers know my identity (like name, address, email)?


    Participants in the Aware Study are not asked to share any personally-identifying information (PII).

    Why does the app ask me if I want to share GPS data? Couldn't that be used to identify me?

    The Aware app only captures significant location changes, not your exact GPS coordinates.

    What does that mean? It means that the app is being used to track significant changes in distance. Researchers won't know if you're in Baltimore, Maryland, Madison, Wisconsin, or San Francisco, California. But they will be able to approximate the number of times you change your location throughout the day.


    Why is this important? Avoiding other people and isolating yourself (like staying home all day and never leaving your house) can be common if someone is experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Not leaving home for weeks at a time may be an indicator that someone is avoiding and isolating.

    Why are researchers using an app to study mood and PTSD?

    Mobile apps can be a great way to reach people, especially people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in research.

    According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone.


    Mobile health research studies may be a great way to reach people who don't have time to come in to a lab for a traditional research study, don't live near a university, or want to participate in research that doesn't take a lot of time.


    More and more mobile health apps are becoming available on the app marketplaces, but very few apps are based on research. More research is needed to help determine what works, for whom, and under what conditions.