New Study: MindSciences Unwinding Anxiety App Reduces Physician Anxiety and Cynicism by Half

By: MindSciences
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Jud Brewer, MD, Ph.D.
Jud Brewer, MD, Ph.D.
WORCESTER, Mass. - April 1, 2020 - PRLog -- With physician burnout already considered a public health crisis before the coronavirus pandemic, the need for ways to reduce physician anxiety and prevent burnout is critical. A new study published April 1 in the peer-reviewed eHealth journal JMIR Mhealth Uhealth found that the MindSciences Unwinding Anxiety app reduced both anxiety and a major component of physician burnout—cynicism— by at least 50 percent.

The pilot study is the first to test the effectiveness of app-delivered mindfulness training for physicians in reducing these major components that contribute to burnout.

More than half of U.S. physicians experience symptoms of burnout. From a healthcare perspective, physician burnout is linked to lower quality of care, medical errors, poorer patient outcomes and decreased patient satisfaction. Burnout also has personal and professional consequences for the physicians themselves, including prematurely leaving the profession, a higher likelihood of being sued for malpractice, substance abuse and poor interpersonal relationships. Physicians experiencing symptoms of burnout are at higher risk of having mental health disorders, being in motor vehicle accidents and dying by suicide.

During the current coronavirus pandemic, physicians and other healthcare workers are facing an even more stressful and dangerous work environment, including exposure to a highly contagious disease, lack of essential resources and long hours.

"It's more important than ever that we prioritize providing physicians effective tools to help reduce anxiety and burnout and increase resiliency," said the study's lead investigator Jud Brewer, M.D., Ph.D. "Evidence-based digital therapeutics like the one in our study can be widely disseminated at low cost and used anytime and anywhere."

Conducted in 2018 on 34 physicians who volunteered to participate, the study's key findings include:

●Anxiety was reduced by 57 percent after three months of app usage (measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 questionnaire)

●Cynicism was reduced by 50 percent after three months (measured using Maslach Burnout Inventory)

●Emotional exhaustion declined by 20 percent after three months (measured using Maslach Burnout Inventory)

●Physicians are willing to engage in digital therapeutic treatments

Unwinding Anxiety helps extinguish worry at a core mechanistic level by teaching a process that includes:

●Understanding how anxious worry is developed and perpetuated through reinforcement learning mechanisms;

●Recognizing these anxiety "habit loops;"

●Bringing mindful awareness to moments of stress and worry so users can uncouple feelings of anxiety from reactive worry thinking and work with habitual mind states that perpetuate and reinforce anxiety.

The app progresses through daily modules of brief didactic and experience-based mindfulness training, app-triggered check-ins, user-initiated guided meditations and on-demand mindfulness exercises to help disrupt anxiety cycles.

About MindSciences
MindSciences is a Massachusetts-based company that develops clinically validated digital therapeutic apps. Visit


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