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The Datafication of Mindfulness: Big Data, Mental Health, and the Perception of Privacy


Americans increasingly turn to mobile applications to promote health and wellness in their lives. These applications provide mobile tracking and self-regulatory tools that allow users to monitor their own mental health. Categorically known as mindfulness applications, they help manage stress, anxiety, and depression, and promote productivity and build healthy habits. Mindfulness applications collect and retain highly sensitive, personal information regarding users’ mental health, habits, and self-regulatory behaviors. This thesis addresses the perceptions of mindfulness practitioners about data collection practices and privacy within these applications. It examines the perceived benefits of using these applications, the extent to which practitioners are aware of these data collection practices, and the level of concern they have for their data privacy.

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