PLoS One. 2022 Apr 27;17(4):e0266516. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0266516. eCollection 2022.
Mobile sensing data processed using machine learning models can passively and remotely assess mental health symptoms from the context of patients’ lives. Prior work has trained models using data from single longitudinal studies, collected from demographically homogeneous populations, over short time periods, using a single data collection platform or mobile application. The generalizability of model performance across studies has not been assessed. This study presents a first analysis to understand if models trained using combined longitudinal study data to predict mental health symptoms generalize across current publicly available data. We combined data from the CrossCheck (individuals living with schizophrenia) and StudentLife (university students) studies. In addition to assessing generalizability, we explored if personalizing models to align mobile sensing data, and oversampling less-represented severe symptoms, improved model performance. Leave-one-subject-out cross-validation (LOSO-CV) results were reported. Two symptoms (sleep quality and stress) had similar question-response structures across studies and were used as outcomes to explore cross-dataset prediction. Models trained with combined data were more likely to be predictive (significant improvement over predicting training data mean) than models trained with single-study data. Expected model performance improved if the distance between training and validation feature distributions decreased using combined versus single-study data. Personalization aligned each LOSO-CV participant with training data, but only improved predicting CrossCheck stress. Oversampling significantly improved severe symptom classification sensitivity and positive predictive value, but decreased model specificity. Taken together, these results show that machine learning models trained on combined longitudinal study data may generalize across heterogeneous datasets. We encourage researchers to disseminate collected de-identified mobile sensing and mental health symptom data, and further standardize data types collected across studies to enable better assessment of model generalizability.