Depression is a serious mental health condition and is highly prevalent among college students. One-occasion depression-related self-report measures can provide early indication of upcoming depressive episodes, but such assessments are typically infrequent, burdensome, and thus hinder prevention efforts. Recent technological advancements in app-based, automatic smartphone-sensing can now permit collection of depression-related, day-to-day location, mobility, and social interaction patterns with next-to-no participant burden. Smartphone-based technological advancements have also opened doors to examine contemplative mind states, such as state mindfulness and self-compassion, and their relation to depression-relevant, day-to-day behaviors. Surprisingly few studies have examined how changes in moment-to-moment, day-to-day mindfulness and self-compassion are associated with concurrent and subsequent day-to-day behavior and mental health. This line of inquiry could not only increase our understanding of real-world behaviors associated with these contemplative states, but also allow us to examine how such behaviors may attenuate the occurrence or severity of depressive symptoms. This investigation will help to lay the groundwork for the development of “just in time” digitally delivered contemplative interventions (e.g., mindfulness meditations) to benefit depression and other mental health conditions.

Nabila Farhin Jahan

Virginia Commonwealth University