Personal Zen is an app aimed to help users reduce stress and anxiety through a game. The game shows both friendly and angry sprites, instructing the user to shift attention towards the friendly sprite and follow his path as he burrows underground. The app sets daily and weekly goals for total time playing, which can be personalized based on the user’s desired outcome: “Maintain Positive Outlook” or “Stress Busting”.
Total score: 11/14
Basis of research: 1/3
Source of funding for the research: 2/2
Specificity of proposed intervention: 2/3
Number of consumer ratings: 3/3
Product advisory support: 1/1
Software support: 2/2
date of rating: June 2016
Learn more about the Credibility Rating
Overall Score: Unacceptable
Does the policy describe the information storage and sharing procedures related to user entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?:No/Can’t Tell
Available For: iOS Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Developer: By Hadley Harris
Type of Treatment: Not Specified
Targeted Conditions: Stress & Anxiety
Target Audience: Not Specified
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: English
Get it on: iTunes
Research on this App
A 2014 study examined the effects of a Personal Zen — a gamified Attentional Bias Modification Training mobile application in highly trait-anxious participants (N = 78). A single session of the active training relative to the placebo training reduced subjective anxiety and observed stress reactivity 2016 -Gamified ABMT mobile application, or “app,” was utilized in 42 (21 females) trait-anxious adults. EEG was recorded during pre- and post-training threat bias assessment to generate scalp-recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) reflecting neurocognitive responses to threat. Following app play (ABMT versus placebo), groups did not differ in self-reported anxiety. ABMT resulted in improved performance during the stress task among those evidencing specific pre-training ERP responses. Results suggest that efficient allocation of attention to threat combined with enhanced discrimination between threat and non-threat may facilitate stress-reduction effects of ABMT. 2017 -The present study tested whether mobile, gamified ABMT reduced prenatal threat bias, anxiety and stress, and whether ABMT efficacy varied with individual differences in neural responses to threat. Participants were 29 women in their 19th–29th week of pregnancy, randomized to four weeks of an ABMT or placebo training (PT) version of the mobile app using a double-blind design. Although the main effect of ABMT on subjective anxiety was not significant, the magnitude of cortisol reduction was correlated with lower levels of subjective anxiety and threat bias. Those receiving ABMT also reported less anxiety when showing smaller ERPs to threat prior to training, but, conversely reported more anxiety when showing larger ERPs to threat.