App-Based Mindfulness Meditation
Many Americans, in particular low-income individuals, suffer from common mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety at one point in their lives without receiving any treatment. Besides direct consequences of mental illnesses on well-being, even moderate amounts of anxiety may further amplify other health problems as well as poverty by impairing decision-making. We propose an RCT with 3,500 US adults recruited online, to test the effects of giving people access to and incentives to use a leading mindfulness meditation app. We will (a) evaluate the effects of meditation practice on mental health, (b) study take-up and the formation of meditation habits lasting beyond the incentives period, and (c) analyze effects of meditation on decision-making, in particular on the propensity to avoid useful but worrying health-relevant information.