Headspace for parents: qualitative report investigating the use of a mindfulness-based app for managing parents' stress during COVID-19

Burgess, Abigail, Cavanagh, Kate, Strauss, Clara and Oliver, Bonamy R (2022) Headspace for parents: qualitative report investigating the use of a mindfulness-based app for managing parents' stress during COVID-19. BJPsych Open, 8 (1). a15 1-8. ISSN 2056-4724

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Stress can compromise parental well-being and may contribute to harsh and critical parenting styles, which are in turn associated with children's conduct problems. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related restrictions are likely to have exacerbated parental stress as, for many, UK-based family life was altered considerably. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to improve stress management and emotion regulation when delivered to parents in person, however, more accessible online interventions are under-researched.

To provide preliminary data on family well-being and parent–child relationships as well as the acceptability and usability of the Headspace app – a self-delivered mindfulness-based intervention – for parents in low-risk families during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We provided 12 parents with access to Headspace, and collected qualitative data (semi-structured interviews and 5 minute speech samples) immediately following the initial COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. The resulting transcripts were thematically analysed.

Most parents reported Headspace to be acceptable and useful – improvements in parents’ own sleep were particularly noted – and there was high adherence to the intervention. However, difficulties related to family well-being and parent–child relationships following the lockdown were also reported.

As a result of the confounding impact of COVID-19 restrictions, and varied access to app content, we were unable to determine any outcomes to be a result of practising mindfulness specifically. However, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on many UK-based families, including those previously at low risk, and our results demonstrate that Headspace may have beneficial effects for parents. There is a need to more rigorously test this tool with a broader range of families.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adjustment disorders, childhood experience, conduct disorders, psychosocial interventions, qualitative research
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 15:51
Last Modified: 27 May 2022 16:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/106144

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