This study investigates if college students in general and those with stress, depression, and anxiety in particular would use technology to reduce their stress via mindfulness-based training. We conducted two studies. The first study focused on how college students who struggle with stress, depression, and anxiety view mindfulness-based stress reduction and using technology to support it. We conducted a survey that assessed how college students rated a variety of technologies that they could use to enhance their mindfulness-based stress reduction. The second study focused on whether college students with and without mental health issues would prefer to use an app in their mindfulness training. The first study involved 81 U.S. college students from 18 to 27 years old, and the second involved nine college students over 18 years old who had experienced stress, depression, and anxiety. The results suggest that college students did not differ in the likelihood that they would use different technologies to reduce their stress via mindfulness-based training. A majority of participants who struggled with stress, depression, and anxiety and who had taken mindfulness-based stress reduction training believed that having a mindfulness-based stress reduction app in conjunction with the in-person class we offered would reduce barriers to practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction. While many companies and technologists tout the benefits of pure online or digital solutions to mindfulness practice, the college students who struggled with stress, depression, and anxiety in our study clearly signaled that they did not prefer a technology solution alone and that they found such a solution insufficient.
Fulwiler, C. E.,
An Investigation into College Students’ Preferences for Technology Integration into Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction.
AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, 10(4), 188-204.