Putting the ‘app’ in Happiness: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Enhance Wellbeing

Article


Howells, Annika, Ivtzan, Itai and Eiroá-Orosa, F. 2014. Putting the ‘app’ in Happiness: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Enhance Wellbeing. Journal of Happiness Studies. 17 (1), pp. 163-185.
AuthorsHowells, Annika, Ivtzan, Itai and Eiroá-Orosa, F.
Abstract

Smartphones are revolutionizing approaches to wellbeing investment. Those seeking
greater happiness can engage with thousands of downloadable self-help applications
instantly, yet their effectiveness remains largely unknown. This investigation explored
the viability of delivering a positive psychological intervention in application format to
authentic happiness seekers. A smartphone-based randomized-controlled trial was
conducted with a diverse self-selecting pool, randomly assigned to engage with an
empirically supported mindfulness intervention (n = 57) or a control intervention (n =
64) for ten days. The study explored smartphone methodology, the importance of
empirically based content for wellbeing enhancement and the extent to which user
experience related to wellbeing gains. Results of repeated measures ANOVAs showed
statistically significant increases in positive affect with a medium effect size and
reduced depressive symptoms with a small effect size, although no statistically
significant differences in satisfaction with life, flourishing or negative affect were found.
No statistically significant gains were observed in the control condition. Ratings of task
enjoyment were positively correlated (Pearson's r) with positive affect increase.
Findings support the viability of smartphone-based interventions to significantly
enhance elements of wellbeing, underscoring the importance of application content
and the role of person-activity fit. This investigation presents implications for happiness
seeking strategies in the real world whilst showcasing a dynamic method of
intervention delivery that can benefit future research and practice. If the greatest
mission of positive psychology is to enhance global flourishing, the potential of
smartphone-based interventions may play a vital role.

JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Journal citation17 (1), pp. 163-185
ISSN1573-7780
1389-4978
Year2014
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9589-1
Publication dates
Print29 Oct 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Jun 2015
Accepted29 Oct 2014
Copyright informationThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9589-1. February 2016, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 163-185
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