Theory-Based Predictors of Mindfulness Meditation Mobile App Usage: A Survey and Cohort Study
JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2019
Source ID: shanti-sources-108631
Collection: Mindfulness Studies and Undergraduates
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular over the last few years, due in part to the increase in mobile apps incorporating the practice. Although studies have demonstrated the potential of mindfulness meditation to positively impact health, little has been uncovered about what predicts engagement in mindfulness meditation. Understanding the predictors of mindfulness meditation may help practitioners and phone app developers improve intervention strategies and app experience.OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to use the Theory of Planned Behavior and Temporal Self-Regulation Theory to determine factors predicting mindfulness meditation mobile app use. METHODS: The sample consisted of 85 undergraduate students with no prior mindfulness meditation experience. During their first laboratory visit, participants completed tasks to measure their executive functioning and a survey to measure Theory of Planned Behavior constructs about mindfulness meditation. Over the following 2 weeks, participants logged the days and minutes that they practiced mindfulness meditation using a phone app. Hierarchical regression modeling was used to analyze the data. RESULTS: After controlling for demographic factors, participant subjective norms (beta=14.51, P=.001) and intentions (beta=36.12, P=.001) were predictive of the number of minutes practicing mindfulness. Participant executive functioning did not predict mindfulness meditation practice, nor did it moderate the link between intentions and mindfulness meditation practice. Participant attitudes (beta=0.44, P<.001) and perceived control (beta=0.42, P=.002) were positively associated with intentions to practice mindfulness. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that among college student populations, the Theory of Planned Behavior may be useful in predicting the use of mindfulness meditation phone apps. However, participant executive functioning was not a predictor or moderator of mindfulness practice, and Temporal Self-Regulation Theory may be less useful for explaining mindfulness meditation behaviors using phone apps over a short period of time among college students. The results have implications for public health professionals, suggesting that a focus on subjective norms and intentions may promote mindfulness meditation practice using phone apps.