A Spiritual Self-Care Mobile App (Skylight) for Mental Health, Sleep, and Spiritual Well-Being Among Generation Z and Young Millennials: Cross-Sectional Survey

Susanna Y. Park, Jennifer Huberty, Jacqlyn Yourell, Kelsey L. McAlister, Clare C. Beatty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Generation Z (Gen Z) and young millennials (GenZennials) (ages 18-35 years) are unique in that they either have no memory of or were born shortly after the internet “explosion.” They are constantly on the internet, face significant challenges with their mental health and sleep, and are frequent users of digital wellness apps. GenZennials also uniquely identify with and practice spirituality, which has been linked to better mental health and sleep in adult populations. Research has not examined digital approaches to spiritual self-care and its relationship to mental health and sleep in GenZennials. Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe a sample of adult GenZennials who use a spiritual self-care app (ie, Skylight), describe how users engage with and perceive the app, and assess the relationship between frequency of using the app with mental health, sleep, and spiritual well-being. Methods: Participants were 475 adult Gen Z (ages 18-28 years) and young millennial (ages 29-35 years) Skylight app users who responded to an anonymous survey on the web. The survey asked about demographics, spiritual self-care and practice, and user engagement and perceptions of the app. Outcome measures included 4 validated surveys for mental health (ie, depression, anxiety, and stress) and sleep disturbance, and one validated survey on spiritual well-being. Mean scores were calculated for all measures, and linear regressions were conducted to examine the relationship between the frequency of app use and mental health, sleep, and spiritual well-being outcomes. Results: Participants were predominantly White (324/475, 68.2%) and female (255/475, 53.7%), and approximately half Gen Z (260/475, 54.5%) and half young millennials (215/475, 45.3%). Most users engaged in spiritual self-care (399/475, 84%) and said it was important or very important to them (437/475, 92%). Users downloaded the app for spiritual well-being (130/475, 30%) and overall health (125/475, 26.3%). Users had normal, average depressive symptoms (6.9/21), borderline abnormal anxiety levels (7.7/21), slightly elevated stress (6.7/16), and nonclinically significant sleep disturbance (5.3/28). Frequency of app use was significantly associated with lower anxiety (Moderate use: β=–2.01; P=.02; high use: β=–2.58; P<.001). There were no significant relationships between the frequency of app use and mental health, sleep, and spiritual well-being outcomes except for the personal domain of spiritual well-being. Conclusions: This is the first study to describe a sample of adult GenZennials who use a spiritual self-care app and examine how the frequency of app use is related to their mental health, sleep, and spiritual well-being. Spiritual self-care apps like Skylight may be useful in addressing anxiety among GenZennials and be a resource to spiritually connect to their personal spiritual well-being. Future research is needed to determine how a spiritual self-care app may benefit mental health, sleep, and spiritual well-being in adult GenZennials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere50239
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gen Z
  • app
  • apps
  • digital health
  • engagement
  • mHealth
  • mental health
  • mental well-being
  • mental wellness
  • millennial
  • mobile health
  • perception
  • perceptions
  • self-care
  • sleep
  • spiritual
  • spiritual self-care
  • spirituality
  • young adult
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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