Since the surge of cases pertaining to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, health professionals and physicians alike have put their lives on the line, becoming at risk for severe mental health adversities.
At Brown University, researchers worked in conjunction with 34 physicians to examine the efficiency of a mindfulness smartphone app known as Unwinding Anxiety.
According to their new study, appearing in the peer-reviewed journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth, the app may be effective for reducing physician burnout and anxiety.
To test the app’s effectiveness, the research group examined the level of anxiety exhibited by those 34 physicians recruited for the study. Their anxiety was measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), a brief self-report scale for diagnosing clinically significant symptoms of anxiety.
In the mindfulness training app provided to the participants. users are able to receive short training sessions on a daily basis, for nearly 10 minutes a day. The tools in the app are accessible at any time throughout the day.
Once the app is opened, its mindfulness training sessions are able to diminish anxiety by increasing awareness of maladaptive thought patterns. For the participants, the app induced drastic improvements in anxiety levels following a one-month use.
According to the results, the app resulted in a 48% decrease in anxiety after a one-month period, while a 3-month follow-up led to a 57% reduction. The effects also extended to decreased cynicism and emotional exhaustion, researchers noted.
“This pilot study is the first to test an app-based mindfulness training program targeted at reducing anxiety with physicians and to demonstrate that in physicians, anxiety is correlated with burnout,” the findings declared.
“These findings suggest that this may be an effective tool to reduce anxiety and burnout in physicians.”