Effects of mobile app-based mindfulness practice on healthcare workers: a randomized active controlled trial

Shian-Ling Keng, Joseph Wei Ern Chin, Maleyka Mammadova, Irene Teo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers (HCWs) may be at greater risk of suffering from psychological distress compared to the general population. This study aimed to investigate the effects of mindfulness practice as delivered using Headspace on psychological and cognitive outcomes among HCWs in Singapore. Methods: A total of 80 HCWs were recruited and randomly assigned to engage in either 3 weeks (10 min/day) of mindfulness practice using Headspace or an active control condition (Lumosity; involving playing cognitive games). Participants were administered several self-report measures and two working memory (digit span) tasks at pre- and post-intervention, and one-month follow-up. Results: There were no significant between-condition changes on any outcome variables from pre- to post-intervention. From pre-intervention to 1-month follow-up, there were significantly greater improvements among Headspace participants on fear of COVID-19 (p =.005), compassion satisfaction (p =.007), trait mindfulness (p =.002), self-compassion (p =.005), sleep quality (p =.002), and the forward digit span task (p <.001). Several outcomes were mediated by increases in trait mindfulness or self-compassion. Conclusions: Use of Headspace may lead to downstream benefits in reducing distress and improving psychological health outcomes among HCWs. The findings have implications for improving psychological support resources for HCWs amidst a pandemic. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2691-2704
Number of pages14
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Healthcare workers
  • Mindfulness
  • Mobile app interventions
  • Psychological health

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