Adult colouring: the effect of app-based vs. pen-and-paper colouring on mindfulness and anxiety
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Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Submission date: 2019-06-19
Final revision date: 2019-07-29
Acceptance date: 2019-07-29
Online publication date: 2019-08-13
Publication date: 2019-08-13
Health Psychology Report 2019;7(4):286-295
The rise in popularity of “mindfulness colouring books” has led to the development of colouring applications as an alternative to the traditional pen-and-paper versions. There have been no investigations exploring these applications in regards to mindfulness.

Participants and procedure:
In two randomised experiments, this study examined whether there were any differences in state mindfulness and anxiety between (a) paper-and-pen and a colouring application (i.e., Experiment 1; n = 100), and (b) two different methods of colouring within an application (i.e., tapping or swiping; i.e., Experiment 1; n = 100).

Experiments 1 and 2 showed a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms following a single colouring session, irrespective of different conditions. Also, Experiment 1, but not Experiment 2, revealed that colouring through the application significantly aided the increase in mindfulness.

App-based colouring may be a contemporary time- and cost-effective intervention in reducing anxiety. However, the non-significant increase in mindfulness appears challenging when attempting to justify the results. The effectiveness of colouring apart from mindfulness is seen through potential constructs such as flow, and display a limitation that requires further reflections on guidance to enhance mindfulness through colouring. Future directions are discussed.

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