Mental Health and Well-Being in Racial or Ethnic Minority Individuals After Using a Faith and Prayer Mobile App ( Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy Trial

Breanne Laird, Sabrina Zuniga, Joshua N. Hook, Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Lynda Joeman, Jennifer Huberty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research is needed on how faith and prayer apps fit within the values of racial and ethnic minority (REM) groups, as well as whether such apps are effective in promoting mental health and well-being. Objective: This study aims to determine the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of using the mobile app on mental health and well-being among REM participants. Methods: This study was a single-group (N=77), 4-week feasibility trial in REM groups (65/77, 84% Black or African American). Participants were asked to use the app at no cost for at least 5 times per week for 5 minutes per day. Participants completed questionnaires at the baseline and postintervention time points. Feasibility questionnaires were only completed at the postintervention time point, including qualitative interviews (n=15). The feasibility questions included acceptability (ie, satisfaction, intent to continue use, perceived appropriateness, and fit within culture), demand (ie, self-reported app use, expressed interest, and perceived demand), and practicality (ie, ease or difficulty of use, ability to use the app, and cost-effectiveness). Frequency and descriptive statistics were used to analyze feasibility outcomes. Changes in dependent variables were analyzed using paired-sample 2-tailed t tests. Partial correlations were conducted to explore the association between app use and outcomes, controlling for baseline scores. Results: Participants reported (54/72, 75% responded with “very likely” or “likely” to the feasibility questions) that they perceived the app as acceptable. These findings were supported by qualitative interviews (n=15). Most participants (62/72, 86%) did not meet the app use prescription but expressed interest in using the app in the future and perceived demand for it in their communities. In addition, participants reported that the app was easy to use and perceived it to be inexpensive (US $7.99). Participants reported improved mental health (ie, stress and depressive and anxiety symptoms) and well-being (ie, satisfaction with life, spiritual well-being, religious commitment, and racial or ethnic identity development) at postintervention despite relatively low average levels and high variability of app use (average total of 45.83, SD 111.90 min over the course of the study). Greater app use was significantly associated with improvements in mental health and spiritual well-being. However, app use and study methodology limitations suggest that the study results may not accurately capture the full impact of use. Conclusions: This is the first study to assess the feasibility of a faith and prayer app for mental health and well-being in a sample of REM individuals. Our findings suggest that the use of a faith and prayer app (ie, could be feasible and significantly impactful for the improvement of mental health symptoms and well-being in REM individuals and their communities, especially Black and African American individuals with a Christian affiliation. Further research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJMIR Formative Research
StatePublished - 2024


  • anxiety
  • app
  • depression
  • engagement
  • ethnic
  • mental health
  • mHealth
  • mobile apps
  • mobile health
  • mobile phone
  • quality of life
  • racial
  • Religion
  • spiritual practice
  • spiritual practices
  • spiritual well-being
  • spirituality
  • stress
  • technology
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Informatics


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