App & Recorded Meditations Research

Exploring the impact of mindfulness practice via UCLA Mindful App usage on psychological outcomes for pretransplant patients with heart failure

How does practicing mindfulness using the UCLA Mindful App impact the psychological wellbeing of pretransplant patients with heart failure? 

This project evaluated the feasibility and effect of a brief mindfulness intervention on stress, anxiety, and resilience in 20 hospitalized patients with advanced heart failure awaiting transplant. A 1-group, pretest-posttest design over a 4-week period was used. The intervention included a one-on-one mindfulness education session and a 12-minute audio-guided tablet computer app for daily self-practice. Outcome variables measured at baseline and 2 and 4 weeks after implementation included stress (10-item Perceived Stress Scale), anxiety (7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder instrument), and resilience (10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale). Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics and repeated-measures analysis of variance with Friedman tests, Bonferroni post hoc tests, and Wilcoxon matched-pairs tests. Significant reductions in stress and anxiety and increase in resilience occurred from baseline to 2 weeks and 4 weeks after intervention (all P = .001). Feasibility and acceptability were evident from patient experience survey data and focused interview responses. A brief mindfulness intervention holds promise for improving stress, anxiety, and resilience for patients with advanced heart failure awaiting transplant. Nurse-led stress reduction interventions are imperative for best patient outcomes. An evidence-based intervention of mindfulness practice embedded into daily usual patient care may be a feasible option. 

Vandenbogaart, E., Gawlinski, A., Grimley, K. A., Lewis, M. A., & Pavlish, C. (2023). App-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Improve Psychological Outcomes in Pretransplant Patients With Heart Failure. Critical Care Nurse, 43(2), 15-25.

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Addressing compassion fatigue in family caregivers using the UCLA Mindful App

How does usage of the UCLA Mindful App impact compassion fatigue symptoms among family caregivers?

This quality improvement project sought to determine if using a mindfulness-based smartphone app daily for 6 weeks would have any impact on CF in family caregivers. The project sought to determine whether it was feasible for caregivers to use the app and examined the impact on stress, depression, and anxiety. Participants completed two validated instruments before and after the 6-week intervention and results were compared using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Results indicated a significant reduction in stress (p = .043) and a marginal reduction, though not significant, in depression (p = .075) and anxiety (p = .149). The caregivers found the app to be useful. Future projects should investigate the patterns of use by family members and use of the app as an adjunct to other interventions.


Burks, N., Turner, B. S., Cadavero, A., McGugan, L., & Thompson, J. (2022). Addressing Compassion Fatigue in Family Caregivers using a Mindfulness-based Smartphone Application. Home Healthcare Now, 40(6), 330-336. 

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Efficacy of a brief mindfulness intervention on anxiety in psychiatric patients with early psychosis

For individuals experiencing early psychosis, how does adding a three minute, recorded mediation to a routine psychiatric office visit impact state anxiety?

This study included patients who had experienced an initial episode of psychosis, with less than 30 months of antipsychotic exposure. First, the prescriber completed the COMPASS Clinician Rating Form (measuring symptom burden), and patients completed the POMS questionnaire (measuring anxiety). A 3-minute mindfulness exercise was administered, and patients again completed the POMS scale.The differences between the pre- and post intervention anxiety scores were analyzed using a paired t-test. Results: A total of 20 subjects participated. The mean Anxiety Subscale of the POMS scores decreased from 4.6 to 1.7. The change was statistically significant, and not influenced by symptom burden. A brief mindfulness exercise, conducted in a routine office visit, produced a significant reduction in state anxiety for early psychosis patients, regardless of symptom burden.  

Ernst, A. F., & D'Mello, D.. (2020). Efficacy of a brief mindfulness intervention upon anxiety in early psychosis patients. Early Intervention in Psychiatry14(4), 503–506. 

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Exploring the impact of a mindfulness meditation on willingness to help others

Does mindfulness meditation activate altruism?

Here we examined whether mindfulness meditation activates human altruism, a component of social cooperation. Using a simple donation game, which is a real-world version of the Dictator’s Game, we randomly assigned 326 subjects to a mindfulness meditation online session or control and measured their willingness to donate a portion of their payment for participation as a charitable donation. Subjects who underwent the meditation treatment donated at a 2.61 times higher rate than the control. We also found a larger treatment effect of meditation among those who did not go to college and those who were under 25 years of age, with both subject groups contributing virtually nothing in the control condition. The results imply high context modularity of human altruism and the development of intervention approaches including mindfulness meditation to increase social cooperation, especially among subjects with low baseline willingness to contribute.

Iwamoto, S. K., Alexander, M., Torres, M., Irwin, M. R., Christakis, N. A., & Nishi, A.. (2020). Mindfulness Meditation Activates Altruism. Scientific Reports10(1). 

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