A research study published in Autism journal finds that Wellmind Health’s, Be Mindful can be effectively used by adults with autism to help reduce anxiety.
The study was supported by City, University of London, and the Medical Research Council. The research demonstrates that those individuals with autism who can effectively engage with online tools, can benefit from online interventions, including Be Mindful.
Access to face-to-face mindfulness-based (MBT) and cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT) is limited for people with autism. This research uncovers the value of self-guided therapies as good alternatives, following further research.
The research demonstrates that over 75% of participants who reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety experienced reduced symptoms 3-months after online MBT and CBT interventions. With benefits maintained after 6-months for over half of participants. This represents a significant and sustained reduction in anxiety.
One important finding is that the majority of participants completed the online programmes, which suggests that online MBT and CBT are acceptable to many adults with autism. Wellmind Health’s Be Mindful programme saw 88% participant retention. This is speculated to reflect “the fact that the Be Mindful platform scaffolds continued engagement through weekly e-mail reminders” (p.12).
The pilot study calls for further investigation into the benefits of online MBT and CBT therapies for individuals with autism. Promisingly, mindfulness-based online therapy could prove to have a significant role in addressing the ‘intolerance of uncertainty’ and ‘emotional acceptance’ the majority of individuals with autism reported in this study as the roots of their anxiety.
“We were pleased that Be Mindful was found to be effective at reducing anxiety in autistic adults and particularly happy with an 88% retention rate, which significantly supports the use of online mindfulness-based therapy. We hope to support the team in exploring this area of research further”
Reference: Gaigg, S. B., Flaxman, P. E., McLaven, G., Shah, R., Bowler, D. M., Meyer, B., ...South, M. (2020). Self-guided mindfulness and cognitive behavioural practices reduce anxiety in autistic adults: A pilot 8-month waitlist-controlled trial of widely available online tools. Autism, 24(4), 867–883.