Mindfulness and Mobile Health for Quitting Smoking: A Qualitative Study Among Predominantly African American Adults with Low Socioeconomic Status

Cherell Cottrell-Daniels 1 * , Dina M. Jones 2, Sharrill A. Bell 3, Maitreyi Bandlamudi 4, Claire A. Spears 5

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp. 19-41

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Low-income and African American adults experience severe tobacco-related health disparities. Mindfulness-based interventions show promise for promoting smoking cessation, but most mindfulness research has focused on higher income, Caucasian samples. “iQuit Mindfully” is a personalized, interactive text messaging program that teaches mindfulness for smoking cessation. This qualitative study sought feedback from predominantly low-income African American smokers, to improve the intervention for this priority population. After receiving 8 weekly group sessions of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Treatment for smoking cessation and between-session iQuit Mindfully text messages, participants (N=32) completed semi-structured interviews. Participants were adult cigarette smokers (90.6% African American, 62.6% annual income <$30,000, mean age 45.1 [±12.9]). Interviews inquired about participants’ experiences with and suggestions for improving iQuit Mindfully, including message content, number, and timing. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded by a team of 5 coders in NVivo. The coding manual was developed based on response categories from the interview guide and themes emerging from the data. Themes were organized into a conceptual model of factors related to engagement with the mHealth program. Response categories included helpful aspects (e.g., themes of social support, mindfulness, personalization); unhelpful/disliked aspects (e.g., too many/repetitive messages); links between in-person sessions and texts; and suggestions (e.g., changes to number/timing and more personalization). Findings provide insight into participants’ day-to-day experiences with iQuit Mindfully and suggest ways to improve mHealth programs among low-income and African American adults.

Keywords: Smoking cessation, mobile health technology, mindfulness, qualitative research, African Americans.