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Headspace for parents: qualitative report investigating the use of a mindfulness-based app for managing parents' stress during COVID-19

Burgess, A; Cavanagh, K; Strauss, C; Oliver, BR; (2022) Headspace for parents: qualitative report investigating the use of a mindfulness-based app for managing parents' stress during COVID-19. BJPsych Open , 8 (1) , Article e15. 10.1192/bjo.2021.1070. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Stress can compromise parental well-being and may contribute to harsh and critical parenting styles, which are in turn associated with children's conduct problems. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related restrictions are likely to have exacerbated parental stress as, for many, UK-based family life was altered considerably. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to improve stress management and emotion regulation when delivered to parents in person, however, more accessible online interventions are under-researched. / Aims: To provide preliminary data on family well-being and parent–child relationships as well as the acceptability and usability of the Headspace app – a self-delivered mindfulness-based intervention – for parents in low-risk families during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. / Method: We provided 12 parents with access to Headspace, and collected qualitative data (semi-structured interviews and 5 minute speech samples) immediately following the initial COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. The resulting transcripts were thematically analysed. / Results: Most parents reported Headspace to be acceptable and useful – improvements in parents’ own sleep were particularly noted – and there was high adherence to the intervention. However, difficulties related to family well-being and parent–child relationships following the lockdown were also reported. / Conclusions: As a result of the confounding impact of COVID-19 restrictions, and varied access to app content, we were unable to determine any outcomes to be a result of practising mindfulness specifically. However, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on many UK-based families, including those previously at low risk, and our results demonstrate that Headspace may have beneficial effects for parents. There is a need to more rigorously test this tool with a broader range of families.

Type: Article
Title: Headspace for parents: qualitative report investigating the use of a mindfulness-based app for managing parents' stress during COVID-19
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bjo.2021.1070
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.1070
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Adjustment disorders, childhood experience, conduct disorders, psychosocial interventions, qualitative research
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140657
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