People are increasingly using mobile technology to improve their well-being. This isn’t surprising, given that mobile technology is becoming more integral to people’s lives. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 39% of American adults now use only mobile phones, which outweighs the 7% who use only landline phones by a 5-to-1 ratio.

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Two thirds of Americans own a smartphone and half of those smartphone owners have downloaded an app meant to improve their health or wellbeing. 19% of all US adults regularly use one of these applications. “Wellbeing” is defined by Gallup as consisting of five elements: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. A person can either be thriving, struggling, or suffering with these elements.

When we look closely at app use and well-being at the individual element level, the strength of the relationship varies. We find little difference in financial well-being between those who routinely use health apps and all others. But when it comes to physical and social well-being, routine users of health apps are more than 20% more likely to be thriving than those who don’t routinely use such apps.

Mobile applications meant to improve wellbeing are having a positive impact. The more widespread these apps become, the better off people will be.

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