Experience sampling

The experience sampling method (ESM), or ecological momentary assessment (EMA) started as a methodology to assess daily live experiences associated with mental disorders. With EMA, participants monitor their mood, symptoms, surroundings, activities, and other relevant contextual experiences multiple times per day via their smartphones. It is expected that such self-monitoring boosts the self-management of patients, and strengthens the therapeutic alliance.

The content and assessment schedule of the EMA diary depends on the intended goal. Perhaps, you want to gain insight into the effects of a given treatment (positive or negative). Or you want to monitor your symptoms to prevent them from worsening. Each goal needs its own type of diary. With PETRA, you can compile your own personalized diary. PETRA helps you decide on relevant diary questions, but also with the numbers of assessments per day needed to answer your goal. PETRA takes five easy steps, which are visualized in the figure below.


To help patients and clinicians decide on the right diary, PETRA offers a decision aid. This decision aid translates the clinical goal to the relevant EMA diary. After selecting a goal and target group, PETRA proposes potentially relevant diary questions, an assessment schedule, and the diary period. This preselection can be easily adapted to create a bespoke diary.


PETRA further helps in attractively visualizing the gathered ESM data in a feedbackmodule. PETRA’s feedback module helps patients and clinicians to interpret the data together.