Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Bhagwant S Sindhu

Committee Members

Steven Grindel, Virgina Stoffel, Brooke Slavens, James Topitzes


Headspace, Mindfulness, Rehabilitation, Rotator cuff, Rotator cuff repair, Satisfaction


Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been found to help reduce psychological distress and pain in chronic musculoskeletal conditions. However, very limited evidence exists determining the impact of mindfulness on psychological distress and pain in acute musculoskeletal conditions including rotator cuff tears. Among individuals undergoing surgical repair of a rotator cuff tear, it is not clear how mindfulness may be combined with usual care, given the requirement of intense training as part of frequently used MBI protocols. The purpose of the present study was to determine if it was feasible to combine Headspace, a mobile application for mindfulness training that can be used anytime and anywhere, with the usual treatment for a single-tendon rotator cuff repair. One individual was recruited to use Headspace for three weeks, from two weeks before to one week after their rotator cuff surgery. Feasibility of using Headspace was measured in terms of satisfaction in using Headspace and changes in mindfulness across three time points (2 weeks before surgery, 1 week before surgery, and 1 week after surgery). Regarding satisfaction with using Headspace, four main themes emerged including the improved ability to focus and concentrate, manage pain, cope with life stressors and the ability to use the application anytime and anywhere. Regarding mindfulness, scores increased on one facet and decreased in the four other facets of FFMQ-SF. In addition, the participant reported becoming more mindful but still needed more practice with mindfulness. Based on our findings, we concluded that Headspace is an appropriate intervention to include in the treatment of rotator cuff repairs and can lead to the improved ability to concentrate, focus, manage pain, and cope with life stressors. However, given the short duration of the study, it is not clear how Headspace impacted mindfulness. Future studies should be conducted over a longer duration of time to examine the impact of Headspace on a person’s mindfulness from pre-surgery to the end of rehabilitation.