Rapid Communication
No access
Published Online: 13 January 2015

Does a Meditation Protocol Supported by a Mobile Application Help People Reduce Stress? Suggestions from a Controlled Pragmatic Trial

Publication: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 18, Issue Number 1

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of a 3 week mindfulness inspired protocol, delivered by an Android application for smartphones, in reducing stress in the adult population. By using a controlled pragmatic trial, a self-help intervention group of meditators was compared with a typical control group listening to relaxing music and a waiting list group. The final sample included 56 Italian workers as participants, block randomized to the three conditions. The self-reported level of perceived stress was assessed at the beginning and at the end of the protocol. Participants were also instructed to track their heart rate before and after each session. The results did not show any significant differences between groups, but both self-help intervention groups demonstrated an improvement in coping with stress. Nevertheless, meditators and music listeners reported a significant decrease in average heartbeats per minute after each session. Furthermore, both groups perceived a moderate but significant change in stress reduction perceptions, even if with some peculiarities. Limitations and opportunities related to the meditation protocol supported by the mobile application to reduce stress are discussed.

Get full access to this article

View all available purchase options and get full access to this article.

References

1.
Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE. Psychological stress and disease. Journal of the American Medical Association 2007; 298:1685–1687.
2.
Williams C, Whitfield G. Written and computer-based self-help treatments for depression. British Medical Bulletin 2001; 57:133–144.
3.
Cuijpers P, Donker T, Van Straten A, et al. Is guided self-help as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy for depression and anxiety disorders? A systematic review and meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies. Psychological Medicine 2010; 40:1943.
4.
Van Vliet H, Andrews G. Internet-based course for the management of stress for junior high schools. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2009; 43:305–309.
5.
Sethi S, Campbell AJ, Ellis LA. The use of computerized self-help packages to treat adolescent depression and anxiety. Journal of Technology in Human Services 2010; 28:144–160.
6.
Newman MG, Szkodny LE, Llera SJ, et al. A review of technology-assisted self-help and minimal contact therapies for anxiety and depression: is human contact necessary for therapeutic efficacy? Clinical Psychology Review 2011; 31:89–103.
7.
Haug T, Nordgreen T, Öst LG, et al. Self-help treatment of anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis and meta-regression of effects and potential moderators. Clinical Psychology Review 2012; 32:425–445.
8.
Taylor CB, Luce KH. Computer- and Internet-based psychotherapy interventions. Current Directions in Psychological Science 2003; 12:18–22.
9.
Green Paper on mobile Health (mHealth), Brussels, Belgium. June 2014.
10.
Preziosa A, Grassi A, Gaggioli A, et al. Therapeutic applications of the mobile phone. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 2009; 37:313–325.
11.
Villani D, Grassi A, Cognetta C, et al. Self-help stress management training through mobile phones: an experience with oncology nurses. Psychological Services 2013; 3:315–322.
12.
Repetto C, Gaggioli A, Pallavicini F, et al. Virtual reality and mobile phones in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders: a phase-2 clinical trial. Personal & Ubiquitous Computing 2013; 17:253–260.
13.
Schultz HL. (1969) Authogenic training (1). New York: Grune & Stratton.
14.
Jacobson E. (1938) Progressive relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
15.
Hammer SE. The effects of guided imagery through music on state and trait anxiety. Journal of Music therapy 1996; 33:47–70.
16.
Holland P. (1995) The role of music in the effective use of stress. In Wigram T, Saperston B, West R, eds. The art and science of music therapy: a handbook. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Press, pp. 406–432.
17.
Serino S, Triberti S, Villani D, et al. Toward a validation of cyber-interventions for stress disorders based on stress inoculation training: a systematic review. Virtual Reality 2014; 18:73–87.
18.
Kabat‐Zinn J. Mindfulness‐based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice 2003; 10:144–156.
19.
Kabat-Zinn J. (1990) Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delacorte.
20.
Bishop SR, Lau M, Shapiro S, et al. Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice 2004; 11:230–241.
21.
Miller JJ, Fletcher K, Kabat-Zinn J. Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General Hospital Psychiatry 1995; 17:192–200.
22.
Shapiro SL, Schwartz GE, Bonner G. Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 1998; 21:581–599.
23.
Hofmann SG, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, et al. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 2010; 78:169–183.
24.
Chiesa A, Calati R, Serretti A. Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review 2011; 31:449–464.
25.
Eberth J, Sedlmeier P. The effects of mindfulness meditation: a meta-analysis. Mindfulness 2012; 3:174–189.
26.
Shonin E, Van Gordon W, Griffiths MD. Mindfulness-based interventions: towards mindful clinical integration. Frontiers in Psychology 2013; 4:194.
27.
Carmody J, Baer RA. How long does a mindfulness‐based stress reduction program need to be? A review of class contact hours and effect sizes for psychological distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology 2009; 65:627–638.
28.
Olivo EL, Dodson-Lavelle B, Wren A, et al. Feasibility and effectiveness of a brief meditation-based stress management intervention for patients diagnosed with or at risk for coronary heart disease: a pilot study. Psychology Health & Medicine 2009; 14:513–523.
29.
Klatt MD, Buckworth J, Malarkey WB. Effects of low-dose mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR-ld) on working adults. Health Education & Behavior 2009; 36:601–614.
30.
Warnecke E, Quinn S, Ogden K, al. A randomised controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness practice on medical student stress levels. Medical Education 2011; 45:381–388.
31.
Sharma V, Bauer B, Prasad K, et al. P02.197 Self help intervention to decrease stress and increase mindfulness: a pilot trial. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2012; 12:P253.
32.
Cavanagh K, Strauss C, Cicconi F, et al. A randomised controlled trial of a brief online mindfulness-based intervention. Behaviour Research & Therapy 2013; 51:573–578.
33.
Ahtinen A, Mattila E, Valkkynen P, et al. Mobile mental wellness training for stress management: feasibility and design implications based on a one-month field study. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mhealth & Uhealth 2013; 1:e11.
34.
Chittaro L, Vianello A. Computer-supported mindfulness: evaluation of a mobile thought distancing application on naive meditators. International Journal of Human Computer Studies 2014; 72:337–348.
35.
Ly KH, Truschel A, Jarl L, et al. Behavioural activation versus mindfulness-based guided self-help treatment administered through a smartphone application: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open 2014; 4:e003440.
36.
Patsopoulos NA. A pragmatic view on pragmatic trials. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 2011; 13:217–224.
37.
Scheufele PM. Effects of progressive relaxation and classical music on measurements of attention, relaxation, and stress responses. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2000; 23:207–228.
38.
Tessier R, Lemure L, Fillion L. (1990) Mesure du Stress Psychologique MSP. Brossard, Canada: The Aviora.
39.
Di Nuovo S, Rispoli L, Genta E. (2000) Misurare lo stress. Il test MSP e altri strumenti per una valutazione integrata. Milan: Franco Angeli.
40.
Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Gordon NS, et al. Effects of brief and sham mindfulness meditation on mood and cardiovascular variables. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 2010; 16:867–873.
41.
Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2004; 57:35–43.
42.
Ospina MB, Bond K, Karkhaneh M, et al. Clinical trials of meditation practices in health care: characteristics and quality. J of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 2008; 14:1199–1213.
43.
Travis F, Wallace RK. Autonomic patterns during respiratory suspensions: possible markers of transcendental consciousness. Psychophysiology 1997; 34:39–46.
44.
Williams JMG, Teasdale JD, Segal ZV, et al. (2007) The mindful way through depression. New York: Guilford Press.
45.
Kabat-Zinn J. (1996) Mindfulness meditation: what it is, what it is not, and its role in health care and medicine. Comparative and psychological study on meditation. Netherlands: Eburon, pp. 161–169.
46.
Kabat-Zinn J. (1994) Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.
47.
DeMeulenaere S. Pulse oximetry: uses and limitations. Journal for Nurse Practitioners 2007; 3:312–317.
48.
Dimitrov DM, Rumrill Jr PD. Pretest-posttest designs and measurement of change. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation 2003; 20:159–165.
49.
Luxton DD, McCann RA, Bush NE, et al. mHealth for mental health: integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice 2011; 42:505–512.
50.
Cuijpers P, Marks IM, van Straten A, et al. Computer‐aided psychotherapy for anxiety disorders: a meta‐analytic review. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 2009; 38:66–82.
51.
Villani D, Riva G. Does interactive media enhance the management of stress? Suggestions from a controlled study. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking 2012; 15:24–30.
52.
Plaza I, Demarzo MM, Herrera-Mercadal P, et al. Mindfulness-based mobile applications: literature review and analysis of current features. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mhealth & Uhealth 2013; 1:e24.
53.
Goldenberg DL, Kaplan KH, Nadeau MG, et al. A controlled study of a stress-reduction, cognitive–behavioral treatment program in fibromyalgia. Journal of Musculoskelatal Pain 1994; 2:53–66.
54.
Kaplan KH, Goldenberg DL, Galvin-Nadeau M. The impact of a meditation-based stress reduction program on fibromyalgia. General Hospital Psychiatry 1993; 15:284–289.
55.
Wallace RK, Benson H, Wilson AF. (1984) A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. In Shapiro DH, Walsh RN, eds. Meditation: classic & contemporary perspectives. New York: Aldine Publishing Company, pp. 417–431.
56.
Perez-De-Albeniz A, Holmes J. Meditation: concepts, effects and uses in therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy 2000; 5:49–58.
57.
Nilsson U. The anxiety and pain reducing effect of music interventions: a systematic review. AORN Journal 2008; 87:780–807.
58.
European Commission eHealth Action Plan 2012–2020 Innovative healthcare for the 21st century, 07.12.2012.
59.
Jiang J, Zhou L, Rickson D, et al. The effects of sedative and stimulative music on stress reduction depend on music preference. The Arts in Psychotherapy 2013; 40:201–205.

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 18Issue Number 1January 2015
Pages: 46 - 53
PubMed: 25584730

History

Published online: 13 January 2015
Published in print: January 2015

Permissions

Request permissions for this article.

Topics

Authors

Affiliations

Claudia Carissoli, MS
Psychology Department, Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Daniela Villani, PhD
Psychology Department, Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Giuseppe Riva, PhD
Psychology Department, Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Dr. Daniela VillaniPsychology DepartmentCatholic University of MilanLargo A. Gemelli 120123 MilanItaly
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

Citations

Export citation

Select the format you want to export the citations of this publication.

View Options

Get Access

Access content

To read the fulltext, please use one of the options below to sign in or purchase access.

Society Access

If you are a member of a society that has access to this content please log in via your society website and then return to this publication.

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.

View options

PDF/EPUB

View PDF/ePub

Full Text

View Full Text

Media

Figures

Other

Tables

Share

Share

Copy the content Link

Share on social media

Back to Top