Spatio-temporal determinants of mental health and well-being: advances in geographically-explicit ecological momentary assessment (GEMA)

Thomas R. Kirchner, Saul Shiffman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: Overview of geographically explicit momentary assessment research, applied to the study of mental health and well-being, which allows for cross-validation, extension, and enrichment of research on place and health. Methods: Building on the historical foundations of both ecological momentary assessment and geographic momentary assessment research, this review explores their emerging synergy into a more generalized and powerful research framework. Results: Geographically explicit momentary assessment methods are rapidly advancing across a number of complimentary literatures that intersect but have not yet converged. Key contributions from these areas reveal tremendous potential for transdisciplinary and translational science. Conclusions: Mobile communication devices are revolutionizing research on mental health and well-being by physically linking momentary experience sampling to objective measures of socio-ecological context in time and place. Methodological standards are not well-established and will be required for transdisciplinary collaboration and scientific inference moving forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1223
Number of pages13
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • Ecological momentary assessment (EMA)
  • Geographic information systems/science (GIS)
  • Geographic momentary assessment (GMA)
  • Geographically explicit ecological momentary assessment (GEMA)
  • Spatio-temporal determinants of health
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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