Digital Companion Choice to Support Teachers’ Stress Self-management: Systematic Approach Through Taxonomy Creation (Preprint)

Julia Manning, Ann Blandford, J Edbrooke-Childs
in Working/Discussion Paper


There are thousands of digital companions designed for emotional well-being and stress, including websites, wearables, and smartphone apps. Although public evaluation frameworks and ratings exist, they do not facilitate digital companion choice based on contextual or individual information, such as occupation or personal management strategies.

                    The aim of this study is to establish a process for creating a taxonomy to support systematic choice of digital companions for teachers' stress self-management.

                    We used a 4-step study design. In step 1, we identified the dimension of stress self-management and strategic classifications. In step 2, we identified the dimension of the digital techniques and conceptual descriptions. In step 3, we created 6 criteria for the inclusion of digital companions. In step 4, we used the taxonomy framework created by steps 1 and 2 and populated it with digital companions for stress self-management, as identified in step 3.

                    First, in the dimension of stress self-management, we identified four classes of strategies: educational, physiological, cognitive, and social. Second, in the digital techniques dimension, we derived four conceptual descriptions for the digital companions' mechanisms of action: fostering reflection, suggesting treatment, peer-to-peer support, and entertainment. Third, we created six criteria for digital companion inclusion in the taxonomy: suitability, availability, evaluation, security, validity, and cost. Using the taxonomy framework and criteria, we populated it with digital companions for stress management ahead of presentation to teachers in a stress study workshop.

                    The elements of our approach can be generalized as principles for the creation of taxonomies for other occupations or conditions. Taxonomies such as this could be a valuable resource for individuals to understand which digital companion could be of help in their personal context.