In-person vs. eHealth Mindfulness-based Intervention for Adolescents with Chronic Illnesses: A Pilot Randomized Trial

(E-pub Ahead of Print)

Author(s): Nicholas Chadi*, Elli Weisbaum, Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, Sara Ahola Kohut, Christine Viner, Nades Palaniyar, Miriam Kaufman, Jake Locke, Dzung X. Vo.

Journal Name: Adolescent Psychiatry

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Background: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) can improve mental health and well-being in adolescents with chronic illnesses. However, there are many barriers such as reduced mobility and distance which compromise accessibility to MBIs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for adolescents (MARS-A) program in youth with chronic illnesses delivered in person or via eHealth.

Methods: In this mixed method randomized controlled trial, participants received weekly 90- minute long MARS-A sessions for 8 weeks, either in person or via a secure eHealth audiovisual platform allowing group interactions in real time. Data was collected at baseline, immediately after and two months post-MBI through saliva analyses, electronic participant logs and validated questionnaires assessing mindfulness skills and mental health outcomes.

Results: Seven participants per group completed the intervention (total n=14, completion rate 77.8%). Paired t-test analyses revealed a significant reduction in depression/anxiety scores immediately post-intervention (p=0.048, Cohen’s d=0.934) and a significant reduction in pre-post mindfulness cortisol levels at week 8 (p=0.022, Cohen’s d=0.534) in the eHealth group. Frequency and duration of weekly individual home practice (eHealth: 6.5 times; 28.8 minutes; in-person: 6.0 times; 30.6 minutes) were similar in both groups and maintained at follow-up.

Conclusion: This is the first study comparing in-person and eHealth delivery of an 8-week MBI for adolescents with chronic illnesses. Although the study was limited by the small size of the sample, our results suggest that eHealth delivery of MBIs may represent a promising avenue for increasing availability in this population.

Keywords: Adolescent, mindfulness, eHealth, chronic illness, randomized controlled trial, mixed method

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Article Details

(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/2210676608666181031102235
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