Compassion apps for better mental health: Qualitative review

Eva De krijger*, Ernst T. Bohlmeijer, Elbert Geuze, Saskia M. Kelders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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There is increasing empirical evidence for the positive mental health effects of compassion-based interventions. Although numerous smartphone apps offering compassion-based interventions (‘compassion apps’) are now available for the general public, the quality of these apps has not yet been reviewed. A qualitative review of existing compassion apps serves as a crucial first step toward testing the efficacy of these apps, by identifying good-quality compassion apps that might be worth the investment of a scientific trial.
The current study focuses on reviewing the quality of existing compassion apps.
Existing compassion apps were identified through searches in the Google Play Store and App Store. The 24 included apps were reviewed on their quality by using the Mobile App Rating Scale, and on their consistency with current evidence by comparing them to existing and studied compassion-based interventions.
Of the 24 included apps, eight were identified that met the criteria of being consistent with existing and studied compassion-based interventions, and acceptable to good overall quality. The other 16 apps failed to meet one or both of these criteria.
Good-quality compassion apps are available, but many of the available apps fail to meet certain quality criteria. In particular, many apps failed to offer sufficient relevant and correct information, or failed to offer this information in an entertaining and interesting way. It is recommended that future compassion apps are based on a clear definition of compassion, offer evidence- and theory-based exercises and implement tools for increasing engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere141
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number5
Early online date4 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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