How Does Experience Inform Engagement?Exploring Non-Clinical Participant Experience of an Online Self-Help Mindfulness-Based Intervention (SHMBI)

Cairns, E. (2022) How Does Experience Inform Engagement?Exploring Non-Clinical Participant Experience of an Online Self-Help Mindfulness-Based Intervention (SHMBI). Undergraduate theses, University of Chichester.

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Objective: Mindfulness has origins in the Buddhist tradition and is a framework for understanding pain, distress, and offers a way to disengage with patterns that support and add to suffering. Individuals who practice mindfulness learn to: bring awareness to the present moment; develop skills and opportunities to practice relating to thoughts as mental events; recognise thoughts as just one interpretation of any event and can thereby exercise the skill of decentering from previous negative thought patterns. Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) show medium to large effect sizes as clinically effective interventions for depression and anxiety, but most research focuses on clinical outcomes and not participant experience. Attrition rates from MBIs are high (mean – 32%) with engagement suggested as making the difference. This project uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine participant experience in an online self-help MBIs (SHMBIs), and
the results supplement what is already known about effectiveness with the experience of participants, with the intention of informing the development of more engaging interventions. Method: IPA is used to qualitatively examine the experience
of eight participants (5 female, 3 male) ranging in age from 20 to 78 (M= 45.5, SD =21.74) taking part in an online SHMBIs. Results: Two interrelated experiential themes are identified, Expectations and Individual experience. Expectations contains
the sub-themes Everyone has 10 minutes so no need to plan and Expectations of mindfulness; Individual experience contains Becoming irritated, When focus moves from effort to reward, Same task different experience, Attending is a choice, and Recognising the importance of a moment. Discussion: This study finds several factorsshaping the experiences of participants, with two over-arching experiential themes becoming evident, Expectations and Individual Experience, containing divergent and convergent sub-themes. These findings suggest that interventions should consider lifestyle, beliefs, and affective states; participants begin with good intentions to engage but struggle with their self-efficacy to engage in regular practice, but self efficacy improves as participants are able to identify personal benefit. Participants
experience external pressures and conflicting demands for their time, but as participants practice accepting experiences for what they are, this removes the opportunity for their attention to be ‘highjacked’ by residual or fleeting thoughts and emotions, opening them to immediate experience and challenge avoidant or automatic behaviours. Conclusion: This study is concerned with how experience informs engagement, and why there are higher than expected drop-out rates from mindfulness interventions; it had been suggested that engagement made the difference between those who did or did not complete an intervention, here IPA is used to examine participant experiences. Expectations and Individual experience are identified as experiential themes, with identifying personal reward a significant indication of continued engagement and the intention of future practice. Barriers to engagement include the intervention not addressing participant’s expectations of mindfulness, participant’s unrealistic expectations of their available time, a reliance on memory to prompt practice, and irritation with the delivery format. Future interventions would benefit from considering these barriers during the design process.

Keywords: mindfulness, IPA, psychological intervention, MBCT, barriers, attrition,
online self-help, engagement, experience.

Publication Type: Theses (Undergraduate)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mindfulness, Psychological intervention, Online self-help
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences
Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
Student Research > Undergraduate
Depositing User: Michelle Farndell
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2023 13:56
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2023 13:56

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