Mindfulness physical therapy, pain management, rehabilitation

Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness App for Stress Management Among Medical Students

Medical students have higher rates of depression, anxiety and psychologic distress than age-matched peers, which, in turn, may negatively impact academic performance, professionalism and patient care.1 Yang and colleagues set out to study whether 10-20 min of daily mindfulness meditation delivered on a mobile phone app for 30 days could decrease perceived stress and improve well-being among medical students.2

Eighty-eight medical students were stratified by class year and randomized to either the audio-guided mindfulness meditation program or control groups. All participants completed the Perceived Stress Scale, Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and General Well-Being Schedule at baseline, 30 days and 60 days.

There was a significant interaction between time and treatment group for perceived stress and well-being. Perceived stress significantly decreased for the intervention group compared to the control group from Baseline to 60 days. General well-being significantly increased for the intervention group compared to the control group from Baseline to 30 days, and the increase was sustained through 60 days.

Researchers conclude integrating mindfulness training into medical school curricula for management of school- and work-related stress may reduce stress and improve well-being among students and, ultimately improve physician well-being and patient outcomes. They add this research also has implications for a broad group of healthcare providers, ultimately improving provider well-being and quality of patient care.

1Derby LN, Thomas MR, Shanafelt TD. Systematic review of depression, anxiety, and other indicators of psychological distress among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Acad Med. 2006 Apr;81(4):354-73.
2Yang E, Schamber E, Meyer RML, Golg JI. Happier Healers: Randomized Controlled Trial of Mobile Mindfulness for Stress Management.J Altern Complement Med. 2018 May;24(5):505-513.