Mindfulness Meditation Study

Hello potential participants!

You are invited to participate in a new research project. This study serves to examine the effects of use of a mindfulness meditation app by adults over the age of 18 and living through the COVID-19 pandemic, on coping ability and resilience. The effects will be studied by surveying general mental and physical well-being during social distancing and related daily lifestyle changes brought on by adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will be a completely virtual experience for both researchers and participants, so all data collected will be self-reported via questionnaires and collected electronically.

Procedures

At the bottom of this page is a link to a survey to assess your eligibility for this study. If eligible for the study, you will receive an email with a participant ID number and link to the first survey of the study. You will be assigned to either a group that will use the app daily for 30 days or a group that does not use the app (control group). Participants in both groups will complete surveys.  The surveys include screening and demographic questions, a set of questions assessing depression and anxiety, overall well-being, and questions about health habits (eating and exercise.) These data will be evaluated in order to determine the impact of using a meditation app for 30 days during the pandemic on individual well-being. Participants in the meditation app group are asked to use the app for 10 minutes each day for 30 days. Participants in the control group will not use the app for the first 30 days, but are invited to use it after that. At the end of the 30 day period, you will be sent a follow-up survey. All participants may use the app (or not) at your discretion after this time.  You will receive a second, final follow-up survey 60 days after the first follow-up study (90 days after beginning the study). Each survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Completion of the final post-study survey at 3 months marks the end of your participation in the study. Note: subjects must agree to keep their participant ID and log-in information for use of the mindfulness app private. Subjects will be removed from the study without their consent if sharing of account with others occurs.

Confidentiality

The records of this study will be kept in strictest confidence. A list of participant-provided email addresses and ID numbers will be kept in a password-protected local file (not network or cloud-based) for the sole purpose of sending out survey links at the appropriate times. This list will be kept separately from the de-identified data collected. All data collected will be de-identified (no names attached, only participant ID number). No information about individual participants will ever be released. Emails with correspondence to and from researchers for this study will be kept private and will never be published or used in study analysis.

Risks

It is anticipated that there is only minimal risk associated with participation in this study. Minimal risk means that the risks of physical, social or psychological harm posed are not greater than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during routine occupational or educational activities.  However, these questionnaires may trigger emotional responses for some individuals. Therefore, please be aware that there are mental health resources available if needed. They are listed below and will also be listed at the completion of the survey. Other risks may include those from using the mindfulness app. This includes your requirement to disclose contact information to the app company to register, solicitation for in-app purchases (including upgrade to premium service), being subject to advertisements during use, use of private information for marketing or other purposes by the app company, and possibility of breach of confidentiality regarding use of the app.

Benefits

We hope that the study will benefit individuals and communities by gaining insight on how individuals’ mental health, overall well-being, and other lifestyle areas have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is such an unprecedented situation and it presents an opportunity for learning. This study will examine the impact of virtual mindfulness tools on ability to cope with this crisis. It is hoped that this knowledge could then be generalized to other crisis events to assist in enhancing individuals’ coping abilities and resilience.

Voluntary participation

Participation in this study is completely optional. The choice not to participate in the study will not result in any penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

Right to Withdraw

You have the right to withdraw from participation in this research study at any time. Withdrawal will not result in any penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

New Findings

If there are any significant new findings developed during this research that may relate to your willingness to continue participation in the study; they will be immediately disclosed to you.

Costs

There is no cost to participate in this study.

Research Resources

If you have any questions regarding this research study or survey, or believe you have suffered a research-related injury, please contact Dr. Diana Speelman at dspeelman@lecom.edu or 814-868- 1113.  If you have any questions about your rights as a research subject, please contact Irv Freeman, Ph.D., J.D., Chair, LECOM Institutional Review Board by telephone to 724-552-2870 or by email to ifreeman@lecom.edu.

Mental Health Resources

If you feel that the topic of mental health is something that you would like to discuss with a behavioral health specialist, we encourage you to do so. Please contact Dr. Melanie Dunbar, at mdunbar@lecom.edu or 814-866-8160 to assist with connection to resources. In addition, you may find further assistance at any one of the following behavioral health providers:

In Erie:

  • Crisis Services: (814) 456-2014
  • Crime Victim Center of Erie County (Rape Crisis): (814) 455-9414
  • SafeNET (Domestic Abuse): (814) 454-8161
  • Millcreek Community Hospital: (814) 864-4031
  • Stairways Behavioral Health Gage House: (814) 464-8438
  • Safe Harbor Behavioral Health: (814) 459-9300
  • Physicians Health Programs (PHP; Pennsylvania): (866) 747-2255
  • Guadenzia (814) 459-6304

Nationally:

  • HelpWhenYouNeedIt.Org over 350,000 listing for social services, mental health, substance use, legal and financial assistance.
  • Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, psychiatrists, therapy groups and treatment facility options
  • SAMHSA Treatment Locator provides referrals to low-cost/sliding scale mental health care, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment (800-662-4357) Suicide and Crisis
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides referrals to support groups and mental health professionals, resources on loss, and suicide prevention information (888-333-2377)
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233)
  • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors (800-273-8255)

Your choice to click on the link below and complete the questions indicates your informed consent to participate in this study. You will be notified of your eligibility or ineligibility at the email address you provide. Click the link below to sign up.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScPSxsSZjZ8Z05vGYJCuqt8lQTTLBYglGJOlFRsWIK79NrxiQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

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