COPE-EMBRACE: Coping with Stress After Encephalitis Using Real-Time Assessment

Dr Sara Simblett, King’s College London

To find out more, please contact Dr Sara Simblett:

Dr Sara Simblett, Kings College London, is carrying out research to understand how coping with stressful situations can affect mood, following a diagnosis of encephalitis.

Background to the research

Mental health problems such as depression are common following encephalitis and can severely affect daily functioning and quality of life. We know that daily hassles (e.g., losing items, memory lapses, feeling under pressure, having arguments) cause stress after ABI . The way people with ABI cope with stress has been found to influence their level of depression and resilience.  For example, task avoidance can be particularly problematic.

However, there are gaps in our knowledge:

1) greater understanding is needed in the context of encephalitis, where the literature on emotional adjustment is space;

2) how people report reactions to stress in the past does not always equate to what they do in the moment, which may be particularly important in this context of cognitive difficulties (of recall and awareness).

We currently have insufficient knowledge of the mechanisms of real-time, or even daily, coping among people with encephalitis and how this relates to their mood.

We propose a study that measures real-time and daily coping with stress across four months using a method called ecological momentary assessment (EMA).


Participant criteria

  • Be aged 16+
  • Have received a formal diagnosis of encephalitis
  • Own a smartphone with a specification of iOS 13.0 or later or Android 6.0 or later
  • Be living in the UK


What would taking part involve

  • Online survey: Once selected for participation, each person will be asked to complete self-report measures of coping style, mood, and cognition. These measures will be gathered through a weblink to an online survey and completed in their own time unless they opt to complete the measure with help from a member of the research team over a telephone or video call.
  • Smartphone App:  Following the survey, participants will be supported by a member of the research team to download a mobile app on their smartphone (either iOS or Android) and will be trained to complete ‘stress-based’ questions about current depressed mood and coping style in the app.  They will also be trained to complete an ‘daily’ app-based measure at the end of each day to capture general stress, coping style, and depressed mood across the day.

Participants will be asked to use the app for measuring stress in their daily life for four months. 

All participants will complete an evaluation of the useability of the app at the end of the study.



1st June 2024


Will participant expenses be reimbursed?                                                            

If a potential participant is invited to take part in the full research study, they will be offered a £40 shopping voucher. Half of this will be provided at the point of enrolment and half will be provide at end of the four-month study period. This is a small incentive to cover any costs associated with participation, e.g., extra use of mobile data.


To find out more, please contact Dr Sara Simblett:


Page Created: 2 April 2024
Last Modified: 8 April 2024
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