Currently accepted at: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Submitted: Jun 19, 2018
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 23, 2018 - Aug 15, 2018
Date Accepted: Sep 19, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Adherence to a Mindfulness and Relaxation Self-Care App for Cancer Patients: Mixed-Methods Feasibility Study
Cancer is highly prevalent worldwide and can cause high levels of distress in patients, which is often neglected in medical care. Smartphone apps are readily available and therefore seem promising to deliver distress-reducing interventions such as mindfulness and relaxation programs.
This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a mindfulness and relaxation app for cancer patients. We looked at characteristics of participating patients in a mobile health (mHealth) study, including adherence to the app intervention, predictors for adherence, and patientsâ€™ feedback regarding the app.
In this prospective observational study with a mixed-methods approach, cancer patients received a mindfulness and relaxation self-care app. Cancer patients were recruited online and through hospitals in Switzerland. We assessed self-reported measures (eg, quality of life, anxiety, depressive symptoms, openness to experience, resistance to change) at baseline, and the app gathered data on patientsâ€™ practicing time. With 8 semistructured interviews, we obtained patientsâ€™ feedback about the app and recommendations for improvements. We looked at 3 dimensions of the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance framework (reach, adoption, and maintenance) and analyzed data for adherence for the first 10 weeks of the app intervention. We report descriptive statistics for patient characteristics and app use. For the prediction of adherence, we used Kaplan-Meier analyses with log-rank tests and a Cox proportional hazards regression.
Data from 100 cancer patients (74 female) showed that 54 patients were using the app exercises continuously until week 10. In continuous app users, the median number of exercises per week dropped from 4 (interquartile range, IQR 1-7) at week 1 to a median of 2 (IQR 1-4) at week 10. Our analyses revealed 4 significant predictors for better adherence: female gender, higher openness to experience, higher resistance to change, and more depressive symptoms. Interviews revealed that the patients generally were satisfied with the app but also made suggestions on how to improve it.
Our study indicates that a mindfulness and relaxation mHealth intervention for cancer patients is feasible with acceptable adherence and largely positive feedback from patients. Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00010481; https://www.drks.de/drks_web/navigate.do?navigation Id=trial.HTML&TRIAL_ID=DRKS00010481 (Archived by WebCite atÂ http://www.webcitation.org/73xGE1B0P)
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