Effectiveness of Daily Mindfulness Meditation App Usage to Reduce Anxiety and Improve Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author: Katie O'Donnell1, Melanie Dunbar2, Diana Speelman3
1 Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, USA.
2 Behavioral Health, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, USA.
3 Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, USA.
Conference/Journal: Cureus
Date published: 2023 Jul 25
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Issue ID: 7 , Pages: e42432 , Special Notes: doi: 10.7759/cureus.42432. , Word Count: 202

Introduction This study examined the effect of 10-minute daily meditation app usage for 30 days on adult anxiety and mental well-being during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods Participants were randomized into intervention (10 minutes of daily usage of the Insight Timer app) or control groups. Participants completed surveys to assess anxiety and well-being pre- and post-study. Data were analyzed using t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), or nonparametric equivalents. Results Pre-study results were comparable between groups. The pre- vs. post-study General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) scores for anxiety decreased in the intervention group (n=18, median 5.5 vs. 3.0 (pre vs. post), p=0.0233, d=0.50), but not in the control group (n=28). The intervention group had a lower median GAD-7 score than the control group post-study (3.0 vs. 8.0, p=0.0223, d=0.35). Pre- vs. post-study mean 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) scores were improved in both the control (11.6 vs. 12.9 (pre vs. post), p=0.0408, d=0.36) and intervention groups (12.0 vs. 16.3 (pre vs. post), p=0.0001, d=0.77), although it was higher in the intervention group (16.3 vs. 12.9, p=0.0056, d=0.88). Conclusion Ten minutes of daily meditation app usage for 30 days may reduce anxiety and improve well-being in adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: anxiety; covid-19 pandemic; meditation; mindfulness; well-being.

PMID: 37637657 PMCID: PMC10448000 DOI: 10.7759/cureus.42432