Mindfulness physical therapy, pain management, rehabilitation

Mindfulness Delivered on an App: Effects on Affect, Work Stress and Well-being

Bostocak and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of prerecorded guided audio meditations delivered on a smart phone app on psychological well-being, job strain and ambulatory blood pressure during the workday among employees of two large United Kingdom companies.1 Two hundred and thirty-eight healthy employees were randomized to the meditation app or wait-list control condition. Participants in the intervention group were asked to complete one meditation daily for 45 days. The program began with 10 days of 10-minute meditation sessions followed by 15 days of 15 minute meditations and finished with 20 days of 20 minute meditations. The wait-list control group was sent a link to National Health Service online advice for work stress after their baseline assessment. Psychosocial measures and blood pressure throughout one working day were measured at baseline and within two weeks of the end of the intervention period. A follow-up survey was also emailed to participants 16 weeks post-intervention.

On program completion assessments, the intervention group reported improvements in global well-being, daily positive affect, anxiety and depressive symptoms, job strain, and workplace social support compared to the control group. The improvements in global well-being, depressive symptoms and job strain were sustained two months post-intervention. The intervention group had a marginally significant decrease in self-measured workday systolic blood pressure from pre- to post-intervention. A dose response relationship between amount of meditation practice and improvements in outcomes was observed with those participants completing the greatest number of meditation sessions receiving the greatest health benefit.

This research suggests that short guided mindfulness meditations delivered on a smartphone app can improve outcomes related to affect, work stress and well-being, with potentially lasting effects.

1Bostock S, Crosswell AD, Prather AA, Steptoe A. Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being.J Occup Health Psychol. 2019 Feb;24(1):127-138.