Digital Mindfulness Applications

There has been a rapid increase of interactive apps designed for health and well-being. Yet, little research has been published on developing frameworks for design and evaluation of digital mindfulness facilitating technologies | Journal of Medical Internet Research

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Background: Many existing digital mindfulness applications are purely software based. There is room for further exploration and assessment of designs that make more use of physical qualities of artifacts.

Objective: The study aimed to develop and test a new physical digital mindfulness prototype designed for stress reduction.

Methods: In this case study, we designed, developed, and evaluated HU, a physical digital mindfulness prototype designed for stress reduction. In the first phase, we used vapor and light to support mindful breathing and invited 25 participants through snowball sampling to test HU. In the second phase, we added sonification. We deployed a package of probes such as photos, diaries, and cards to collect data from users who explored HU in their homes. Thereafter, we evaluated our installation using both self-assessed stress levels and heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) measures in a pilot study, in order to measure stress resilience effects. After the experiment, we performed a semistructured interview to reflect on HU and investigate the design of digital mindfulness apps for stress reduction.

Conclusions: Our evaluation of HU indicated that HU could facilitate relaxed breathing and stress reduction. There was a difference in outcome between the physiological measures of stress and the subjective reports of stress, as well as a large intervariability among study participants. Our conclusion is that the use of stress reduction tools should be customized and that the design work of mindfulness technology for stress reduction is a complex process, which requires cooperation of designers, HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) experts and clinicians.

Full reference: Zhu, B. et al. (2017) Designing, Prototyping and Evaluating Digital Mindfulness Applications: A Case Study of Mindful Breathing for Stress Reduction.
Journal of Medical Internet Research. 19(6):e197

Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Parents of Children with Autism

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently report poor psychological well-being.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of brief mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on perceived stress, anxiety, and depression among parents of children with ASD in Jordan.

After the intervention program, the one-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that parents in the intervention group had better outcomes on the measures of psychological well-being and mindfulness than those in the comparison group (P < 0.01). Furthermore, results of paired samples t test indicated that parents in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in measures of stress, anxiety, depression, and mindfulness scores with medium to large effect size (Cohen d between 0.42 and 0.85, P < 0.01).

Although the comparison group demonstrated small improvement in measures of the dependent variables, these improvements were much less than improvements in the intervention group. The MBIs are culturally adaptable, feasible, and effective interventions to improve psychological well-being in parents of children with ASD.

Full reference: Rayan, A. & Ahmad, M. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Perceived Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Among Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness. 8(677)

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Bibliotherapy

This randomized controlled investigation examined the effectiveness of a self-help bibliotherapy format of the evidence-based mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention.

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College students seeking stress reduction were randomly assigned to a 10-week MBSR bibliotherapy intervention group (n = 47) or a no-treatment control group (n = 45). Self-report measures were collected at baseline and postintervention.

This MBSR workbook may provide an acceptable and effective alternative for motivated individuals seeking to reduce stress, at least for a select group of individuals who are willing and able to sustain participation in the intervention.

Full reference: Hazlett-Stevens, H. & Oren, Y. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Bibliotherapy: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 73,(6) PP. 626–637

Use of Mindfulness in Coping With Incivility

Green, C. (2017) Nurse Educator. 42(3) pp. 137

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The experience of incivility in nursing education can be difficult for novice and experienced faculty. The workplace may become an environment of hostility and a source of stress, resulting in depression and physical illnesses.

Mindfulness-based meditation teaches us to think before we react and to discover the origin of our frustrations, stress, anxiety, and depression, thereby disempowering the difficult circumstances currently being faced within our immediate environment. The key components of mindfulness include paying attention, focusing on your breathing, and awakening your senses to your external environment and internal responses to the uncivil behavior.

The full comment article is available for download here

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Treating Low Back Pain

Anheyer, D. et al. Annals of Internal Medicine | Published online: 25 April 2017

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Background: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is frequently used to treat pain-related conditions, but its effects on low back pain are uncertain.

Purpose: To assess the efficacy and safety of MBSR in patients with low back pain.

Conclusion: Mindfulness-based stress reduction may be associated with short-term effects on pain intensity and physical functioning. Long-term RCTs that compare MBSR versus active treatments are needed in order to best understand the role of MBSR in the management of low back pain.

Read the full abstract here

Mindful Parenting Group Training for Mothers and Their Babies

Potharst, E.S. et al. Mindfulness | Published online: 13 April 2017

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Many mothers experience difficulties after the birth of a baby. Mindful parenting may have benefits for mothers and babies, because it can help mothers regulate stress, and be more attentive towards themselves and their babies, which may have positive effects on their responsivity. This study examined the effectiveness of Mindful with your baby, an 8-week mindful parenting group training for mothers with their babies.

Read the full article here

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Stress Management Intervention for Cancer Care

Rush, S.E. et al. (2017) Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 22(2)

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Cancer is acknowledged as a source of stress for many individuals, often leading to suffering, which can be long-lasting. Mindfulness-based stress reduction offers an effective way of reducing stress among cancer patients by combining mindfulness meditation and yoga in an 8-week training program.

The purpose of this study was to inspect studies from October 2009 to November 2015 and examine whether mindfulness-based stress reduction can be utilized as a viable method for managing stress among cancer patients. A systematic search from Medline, CINAHL, and Alt HealthWatch databases was conducted for quantitative articles involving mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions targeting cancer patients.

A total of 13 articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these 13 studies, 9 demonstrated positive changes in either psychological or physiological outcomes related to anxiety and/or stress, with 4 describing mixed results. Despite the limitations, mindfulness-based stress reduction appears to be promising for stress management among cancer patients.

Read the full article here