Chittaro, L., & Vianello, A. (2015). Evaluation of a mobile mindfulness app distributed through on-line stores: A 4-week study. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. In Press, Accepted Manuscript.
Recently, interactive approaches aimed at helping people practice mindfulness have appeared in the literature. However, the few available user studies for such approaches focus only on short-term effects and are carried out in a lab or in a similar artificial setting. In this study, we aim instead at assessing the effectiveness of a mobile mindfulness app when used by people in their everyday contexts and over a prolonged period of time.
People could participate in the study by downloading the app from Apple’s App Store as well as Google Play and by answering a mindfulness questionnaire at three pre-set times over a 4-week period. Moreover, the app automatically collected usage data each time it was used and qualitative feedback at the end of the study.
Results reveal that users with no or minimal experience with meditation significantly increased their level of mindfulness over the 4-week study period. Moreover, the qualitative feedback provided by participants indicates that the app was positively perceived as beautiful and its usage elicited positive feelings in most of them. We discuss possible factors that could have contributed to the obtained results. Finally, we analyze how many users abandoned the study and at what times, comparing such data with other studies based on app stores distribution, and giving possible reasons.