Effects of web-based group mindfulness training on stress and sleep quality in singapore during the covid-19 pandemic: Retrospective equivalence analysis

Julian Lim*, Zaven Leow, Jason Ong, Ly Shan Pang, Eric Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted psychological health. Mindfulness training, which helps individuals attend to the present moment with a nonjudgmental attitude, improves sleep and reduces stress during regular times. Mindfulness training may also be relevant to the mitigation of harmful health consequences during acute crises. However, certain restrictions may necessitate the web-based delivery of mindfulness training (ie, rather than in-person group training settings). Objective: The objective of our study was to examine the effects of mindfulness interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic and to evaluate the effectiveness of web-based interventions. Methods: Data from an ongoing study were used for this retrospective equivalence analysis. Recruited participants were enrollees from mindfulness courses at a local charity organization that promoted mental wellness. This study had no exclusion criteria. We created three groups; two groups received their training during the COVID-19 pandemic (in-person training group: n=36; videoconferencing group: n=38), and a second control group included participants who were trained before the pandemic (n=86). Our primary outcomes were self-reported stress and sleep quality. Baseline levels and changes in these variables due to mindfulness training were compared among the groups via an analysis of covariance test and two one-tailed t tests. Results: Baseline perceived stress (P=.50) and sleep quality (P=.22) did not differ significantly among the three groups. Mindfulness training significantly reduced stress in all three groups (P<.001), and this effect was statistically significant when comparing videoconferencing to in-person training (P=.002). Sleep quality improved significantly in the prepandemic training group (P<.001). However, sleep quality did not improve in the groups that received training during the pandemic. Participants reported that they required shorter times to initiate sleep following prepandemic mindfulness training (P<.001), but this was not true for those who received training during the pandemic. Course attendance was high and equivalent across the videoconferencing and comparison groups (P=.02), and participants in the videoconferencing group engaged in marginally more daily practice than the in-person training group. Conclusions: Web-based mindfulness training via videoconferencing may be a useful intervention for reducing stress during times when traditional, in-person training is not feasible. However, it may not be useful for improving sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21757
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Intervention
  • Mental health
  • Mindfulness
  • Perceived stress
  • Psychology
  • Sleep quality
  • Telehealth
  • Videoconference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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