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Making time for mindfulness

Laurie, J; Blandford, A; (2016) Making time for mindfulness. International Journal of Medical Informatics , 96 pp. 38-50. 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2016.02.010. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: Digital mental wellbeing interventions are increasingly being used by the general public as well as within clinical treatment. Among these, mindfulness and meditation programs delivered through mobile device applications are gaining popularity. However, little is known about how people use and experience such applications and what are the enabling factors and barriers to effective use. To address this gap, the study reported here sought to understand how users adopt and experience a popular mobile-based mindfulness intervention. / Methods: A qualitative semi-structured interview study was carried out with 16 participants aged 25–38 (M = 32.5) using the commercially popular mindfulness application Headspace for 30–40 days. All participants were employed and living in a large UK city. The study design and interview schedule were informed by an autoethnography carried out by the first author for thirty days before the main study began. Results were interpreted in terms of the Reasoned Action Approach to understand behaviour change. / Results: The core concern of users was fitting the application into their busy lives. Use was also influenced by patterns in daily routines, on-going reflections about the consequences of using the app, perceived self-efficacy, emotion and mood states, personal relationships and social norms. Enabling factors for use included positive attitudes towards mindfulness and use of the app, realistic expectations and positive social influences. Barriers to use were found to be busy lifestyles, lack of routine, strong negative emotions and negative perceptions of mindfulness. / Conclusions: Mobile wellbeing interventions should be designed with consideration of people's beliefs, affective states and lifestyles, and should be flexible to meet the needs of different users. Designers should incorporate features in the design of applications that manage expectations about use and that support users to fit app use into a busy lifestyle. The Reasoned Action Approach was found to be a useful theory to inform future research and design of persuasive mental wellbeing technologies.

Type: Article
Title: Making time for mindfulness
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2016.02.010
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2016.02.010
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Keywords: Mindfulness; Behaviour change; Usability; User experience; Situated use
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476731
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