Improve Smartphone Addiction with Mindfulness

Improve Smartphone Addiction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

As we get more connected to our wireless technology, we appear to run the risk of damaging our brains’ wiring, and disconnecting from the face-to-face interaction that our social and psychological systems need. With its emphasis on harnessing attention with intention (i.e. redirecting it on purpose), mindfulness—with all its scientifically-established health and well-being benefits—has the potential to keep us from drifting hopelessly away from one another.” – Mitch Abblett

 

Over the last few decades, the internet has gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. In fact, it has become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. As useful as the internet may be, it can also produce negative consequences. “Problematic Internet Use” is now considered a behavioral addiction, with almost half of participants in one study considered “Internet addicts”, developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature, causes, and consequences and how to treat it. The dominant mode of accessing the internet is through smartphones creating smartphone addictions.

 

Future time perspective is the ability to anticipate and plan to bring about desired outcomes in the future. Most addictions involve being completely driven by present needs. So, future time perspective is contrary to addiction and may help to overcome addiction. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful with each of the components of addictions, decreasing cravings, impulsiveness, and psychological and physiological responses to stress, and increasing emotion regulation.  Mindfulness has also been shown to be associated with a balanced time perspective. It is no wonder then that mindfulness training has been found to be effective for the treatment of a variety of addictions. Hence, there is a need to further explore the relationships of smartphone addiction with future time perspective and mindfulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Smartphone use disorder and future time perspective of college students: the mediating role of depression and moderating role of mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969420/), Zhang and colleagues recruited freshman and sophomore college students aged 18-22 years. The completed measures of future time perspective, smartphone use disorder, depression, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of future time perspective and the lower the levels of depression and smartphone use disorder. They also found that the higher the levels of future time perspective the higher the levels of mindfulness and the lower the levels of depression and smartphone use disorder. They then performed a mediation analysis and found that future time perspective had not only a direct and relationship with smartphone use disorder but also was indirectly related via depression such that future time perspective was negatively related to depression which, in turn, was positively related to. smartphone use disorder. Finally, they found that mindfulness moderated the indirect path with high mindfulness decreasing the relationship of future time perspective on depression and decreasing the relationship of depression with smartphone use disorder.

 

This study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the results suggest that the ability of college students to focus on the future is associated with lower depression and smartphone addictions. Also, college students’ addictions to smartphones are lower when mindfulness is present. This relationship occurs directly and as a result of moderating the relationships between thinking and planning for the future, depression, and smartphone use disorder. It remains for future research to train students in mindfulness to determine if mindfulness can be used to treat addictions to smartphones.

 

So, improve smartphone addiction with mindfulness.

 

“just as technology is increasingly being developed to attract and hold our attention, with mindfulness we can develop the capability to be much more aware of where the spotlight of our attention is being drawn to, and consciously choose to direct and place our attention and energy on an activity of our choosing.” – Neil Tranter

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang, Y., Lv, S., Li, C., Xiong, Y., Zhou, C., Li, X., & Ye, M. (2020). Smartphone use disorder and future time perspective of college students: the mediating role of depression and moderating role of mindfulness. Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health, 14, 3. doi:10.1186/s13034-020-0309-9

 

Abstract

Background

Smartphone use disorder (SUD) of college students has drawn increasing attention. Although future time perspective (FTP) may be an important protective factor for individual SUD, the moderating and mediating mechanisms underlying this relationship remain unknown. We tested the individual roles of depression and mindfulness as moderators of this relationship.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted in two colleges in Shandong and Chongqing in China using a sample of 1304 college students recruited by stratified cluster sampling. Data were collected through a validated self-report instrument. A moderation–mediation model was constructed, and an SPSS PROCESS macro was used to analyse the data.

Results

The correlation analyses showed that FTP was negatively associated with SUD of college students. The mediation model revealed that depression partially mediated the link between FTP and SUD of college students. The moderation–mediation model suggested that mindfulness moderates two direct paths: FTP to depression and depression to SUD. In the first path (FTP to depression), a high level of mindfulness among college students had weakened the relationship between FTP and depression. Here, the relationship is strengthened by a low level of mindfulness. In the second path (depression to SUD), low levels of mindfulness strengthen the link between depression and FTP. In contrast, significant association was not found with high levels of mindfulness.

Conclusions

Results suggest that interventions, such as improving the individual level of FTP and mindfulness, should be conducted. These interventions, in turn, help control the level of depression in college students and ultimately decrease their level of SUD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969420/

 

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “An average course student practices 30 minutes daily at home, but the good news is that nevertheless, this practice is related to positive benefit. This can be measured as reduced stress, pain, better well-being and so on.” – Science Daily

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

With impacts so great it is important to know how to optimize the development of mindfulness. Most forms of training require or strongly suggest that the participants practice at home. It is not established, however, how important this home practice is to the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness practice. In today’s Research News article “The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/ ),  Lloyd and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research literature on the benefits of home practice in association with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

They found 14 controlled studies, 8 of which employed MBSR and 6 employed MBCT treating a total of 725 participants. All of these studies used self-report measures of home practice that varied considerably in technique and variables measured. MBSR and MBCT trainings require home practice of 45 minutes per day for 6 days a week (270 minutes). They report that the studies found that actual home practice varied considerably from study to study ranging from 15% to 88% of the recommended amount. The results reported on the impact of home practice on clinical and non-clinical outcome measures were mixed partially due the wide differences in reporting techniques, analyses reported and procedures. Of the 14 reviewed studies only 7 examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of these 4 found that home-practice predicted small but significant improvements on clinical outcome measures.

 

Hence, there are indications suggesting that home practice may be useful for improving the clinical outcomes of mindfulness training. But, the research is so widely different that it is impossible to reach firm conclusions. There is a great need for more attention to the topic employing more standardized assessment techniques. It is important to establish what are the necessary components of practice to produce benefits. The reviewed studies suggest that home practice may be beneficial. This should help in the future in better delineating and refining the most beneficial training techniques.

 

So, improve mindfulness treatment outcomes with home practice.

 

“mindfulness home practice may have a small but positive effect on treatment outcomes, however the strength of this association was not found to depend on the length of time people spent practicing.” – Elena Marcus

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Lloyd, A., White, R., Eames, C., & Crane, R. (2018). The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 9(3), 673–692. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0813-z

 

Abstract

A growing body of research supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). MBIs consider home-practice as essential to increasing the therapeutic effects of the treatment. To date however, the synthesis of the research conducted on the role of home-practice in controlled MBI studies has been a neglected area. This review aimed to conduct a narrative synthesis of published controlled studies, evaluating mindfulness-based group interventions, which have specifically measured home-practice. Empirical research literature published until June 2016 was searched using five databases. The search strategy focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and home-practice. Included studies met the following criteria: controlled trials, participants 18 years and above, evaluations of MBSR or MBCT, utilised standardised quantitative outcome measures and monitored home-practice using a self-reported measure. Fourteen studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Across all studies, there was heterogeneity in the guidance and resources provided to participants and the approaches used for monitoring home-practice. In addition, the guidance on the length of home-practice was variable across studies, which indicates that research studies and teachers are not adhering to the published protocols. Finally, only seven studies examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of which four found that home-practice predicted improvements on clinical outcome measures. Future research should adopt a standardised approach for monitoring home-practice across MBIs. Additionally, studies should assess whether the amount of home-practice recommended to participants is in line with MBSR/MBCT manualised protocols. Finally, research should utilise experimental methodologies to explicitly explore the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/