When stress levels are high, turning to an app for guided meditation might not be all that effective, according to a recent small study published in BMC Psychology.
Researchers found no significant difference in mindfulness, dispositions or critical thinking scores when comparing a group of participants that received mindfulness meditation training through an app to a group that went that went through a “sham” version of meditation training delivered through the same app. That being said, over the course of the double-blind study, researchers observed a significant increase in mindfulness dispositions and critical thinking scores in both the mindfulness meditation and sham meditation groups.
“Our results show that, for most outcomes, there were significant changes from baseline to follow-up but none which can be specifically attributed to the practice of mindfulness,” the authors of the study wrote. “Looking at dispositional mindfulness, one can see that participants from both conditions endorsed each facet to a greater extent at the end of the intervention. This could be due to insensitivity of the measure employed, a genuine small effect of the active-control condition on dispositional mindfulness or simply that low intensity guided practice of mindfulness meditation is no more effective in training the skills of mindfulness than the sham meditation condition we employed.”