The Gamification of Meditation: A Randomized-Controlled Study of a Prescribed Mobile Mindfulness Meditation Application in Reducing College Students’ Depression Article

Fish, MT, Saul, AD. (2019). The Gamification of Meditation: A Randomized-Controlled Study of a Prescribed Mobile Mindfulness Meditation Application in Reducing College Students’ Depression . 50(4), 419-435. 10.1177/1046878119851821

cited authors

  • Fish, MT; Saul, AD

fiu authors

abstract

  • Objective. Roughly 35% of college students report depression as a significant concern, which unaddressed, can lead to an increased likelihood to quit school and develop comorbid conditions. Traditional depression interventions are useful; however, they are often expensive, stigmatizing, tedious, and time-intensive. We examined a prescribed mindfulness meditation regimen, which incorporates gamification principles, in reducing symptoms of depression compared to a control group. Materials and methods. We recruited and randomly assigned 72 college students to an experimental group (n = 33) or a control group (n = 39). The prescription for experimfiental group participants was ten 10-minute mobile mindfulness meditation sessions over a 14-day period; control group participants continued with business as usual. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) was used to test our hypothesis. Results. Repeated-measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant interaction of group by time for depression scores, supporting the hypothesis that experimental group participants would significantly decrease their depression symptom severity compared to control group participants post-intervention. Within-subjects contrasts and between-group analyses showed a significant decrease in depression symptom severity scores. Conclusion. Prescribed use of a gamified mindfulness meditation application significantly decreased depression symptom severity as measured by the PHQ-9. College students and mental health providers should consider these fun, inexpensive, and non-stigmatizing applications as a feasible intervention for college students to improve symptoms associated with depression.

publication date

  • August 1, 2019

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 419

end page

  • 435

volume

  • 50

issue

  • 4