Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“teaching men mindfulness and emotional intelligence will help them develop self-awareness in moments of emotional trigger . . . and avoid violent reactivity.” – Prison Mindfulness Institute

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare.

 

These violent and aggressive tendencies can lead to violence directed to intimate partners, including sexual and physical violence. In the U.S. there are over 5 million cases of domestic violence reported annually. Indeed, it has been estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner.

 

Obviously, there is a need to find ways to reduce intimate partner violence. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce aggressionhostility and violence. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective in reducing intimate partner violence. In today’s Research News article “Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/), Nesset and colleagues explored therapeutic techniques for perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

 

They recruited adult men who were referred by physicians for treatment for violence against intimate partners. They were randomly assigned to be treated with either 15 2-hour group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) sessions or 8 2-hour group Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) sessions. CBT explores and attempts to change inaccurate or negative thinking so the patient can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. The MBSR program consisting on training in meditation, body scan, yoga, and discussions of using mindfulness in everyday life. They were measured at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months later for violence over the prior 3 months reported by both the patient and the intimate partner, including physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced large and significant reductions in physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence over the 12-month follow-up period.

 

It is interesting that two very different therapeutic techniques were equally effective. This raises the possibility that the benefits may have been due to the confounding effects of participant expectancy (placebo) effects, demand characteristics, or experimenter bias effects. But the magnitude in the reductions in violence were striking and lasting. Confounding effects are usually short lived. So, it would seem that both therapies were effective in reducing violence in men with a history of intimate partner violence. Whether they act in different ways or share a common mechanism of action is a subject for future research.

 

So, reduce intimate partner violence with mindfulness.

 

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to calm the mind and clear built up stress from the nervous system.” – Diane Yeo

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nesset, M. B., Lara-Cabrera, M. L., Bjørngaard, J. H., Whittington, R., & Palmstierna, T. (2020). Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02582-4

 

Abstract

Background

Violence in close relationships is a global public health problem and there is a need to implement therapeutic programs designed to help individuals who voluntarily seek help to reduce recurrent intimate partner violence. The effectiveness of such interventions in this population remains inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural group therapy (CBGT) vs mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group therapy in reducing violent behavior amongst individuals who are violent in intimate partnerships and who voluntarily seek help.

Methods

One hundred forty four participants were randomized using an internet-based computer system. Nineteen withdrew after randomization and 125 participants were randomly assigned to the intervention condition (CBGT, n = 67) or the comparator condition (MBSR, n = 58). The intervention condition involved two individual sessions followed by 15 cognitive-behavioural group therapy sessions. The comparator condition included one individual session before and after 8 mindfulness-based group sessions. Participants (N = 125) and their relationship partners (n = 56) completed assessments at baseline, and at three, six, nine and twelve months’ follow-up. The pre-defined primary outcome was reported physical, psychological or sexual violence and physical injury as measured by the revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2).

Results

The intent-to-treat analyses were based on 125 male participants (intervention group n = 67; comparator group n = 58). Fifty-six female partners provided collateral information. Baseline risk estimate in the CBGT-group was .85 (.74–.92), and .88 (.76–.94) in the MBSR-group for physical violence. At 12-months’ follow-up a substantial reduction was found in both groups (CBGT: .08 (.03–.18); MBSR: .19 (.11–.32)).

Conclusion

Results provide support for the efficacy of both the cognitive-behavioural group therapy and the mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy in reducing intimate partner violent behavior in men voluntarily seeking treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Greater Resilience in College Students

Spirituality is Associated with Greater Resilience in College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

for many people, religion, personal beliefs and spirituality are a source of comfort, wellbeing, security, meaning, sense of belonging, purpose and strength.” – World Health Organization

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health.

 

Stress is ubiquitous in people’s lives and it can interfere with the individual’s ability to achieve their goals and maintain psychological well-being.  When highly stressed, resilience is required to cope with the stress and prevent its negative impact on psychological well-being. It would seem likely that since both spirituality and resilience are related to psychological well-being that they would be related to each other.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relationship between aggression and individual resilience with the mediating role of spirituality in academic students – A path analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7032025/), Sadeghifard and colleagues recruited university students and had them complete measures of spirituality, aggression, and resilience. They then analyzed the relationships between these variables with structural equation modelling.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spirituality the higher the levels of resilience. While the higher the levels of resilience the lower the levels of aggression. They also found that spirituality was related to resilience both directly and indirectly. Structural equation modelling revealed that spirituality was directly related to higher levels of resilience and also indirectly by being related to lower levels of aggression which was, in turn, was related to higher resilience.

 

The study was correlational. So, causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the ability to effectively cope with stress and life’s difficulties, resilience, is an important part of maintaining psychological well-being and resilience appears to be impaired by aggression. Spirituality is known to contribute to psychological well-being and it is related to both lower levels of aggression and higher levels of resilience. It can be speculated that the relationship of spirituality to mental health results from its negative relationship with aggression and its positive relationship with resilience.

 

So, spirituality may make college students more resilient and thereby improve their psychological well-being.

 

for many people, religion, personal beliefs and spirituality are a source of comfort, wellbeing, security, meaning, sense of belonging, purpose and strength.” – Olivia Goldhill

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sadeghifard, Y. Z., Veisani, Y., Mohamadian, F., Azizifar, A., Naghipour, S., & Aibod, S. (2020). Relationship between aggression and individual resilience with the mediating role of spirituality in academic students – A path analysis. Journal of education and health promotion, 9, 2. https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_324_19

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The importance of spirituality and spiritual growth in humans has been increasingly taken to attention by psychologists and mental health professionals. In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between the tendency to aggression and individual resilience also considering the role of mediator of spirituality in academic students by path analysis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was conducted using structural equation method (SEM). The target population consisted all of undergraduate academic students in Ilam, Iran University of Applied Sciences, in 2018. Participants included 200 people whom were selected by stratified random sampling. Data collection tools were demographic, Buss and Perry aggression, spirituality assessment, and resiliency of Connor and Davidson questionnaire. In this study, bivariate analysis was used to determine the directionality correlation between the study variables.

RESULTS:

The results showed that there was a significant and positive correlation between spirituality and resilience (r = 154% r = 83%). Furthermore, there was a negative and nonsignificant relationship between aggression with resiliency (r = −122% P = 101). In addition, there was no significant correlation between the aggression and spirituality (r = 0.05%, P = 0.942). The results of SEM showed that spirituality and aggression can predict about 20% of the variations in the degree of resilience in academic students. Accordingly, the results of SEM spirituality in an indirect path reduce the aggression and thus increase the resilience (r = 0.102).

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study showed the effect of spirituality on increasing the level of resilience and also positive mediator role of spirituality between aggression and resiliency.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7032025/

Reduce Dating Violence Due to Perceived Infidelity with Mindfulness

Reduce Dating Violence Due to Perceived Infidelity with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It takes patience, mindfulness and knowledge of trauma-informed practices to effectively implement lasting and profound changes to victims of domestic and sexual violence.” – Sara Mahoney

 

Dating should be a time for young people to get together, get to know one another and have fun. But all too often, dating involves violence or aggression. Nearly 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year, 33% are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and 10% have been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt. Dating violence doesn’t just occur in High School as 43% of college women experience violent or abusive dating behaviors. Sadly, only about a third of the victims ever tell anyone about the abuse. Hence it is important to find ways to prevent dating violence. Mindfulness has potential to reduce dating violence.

 

Dating violence is often linked to suspicions regarding the infidelity of the partner and frequently to alcohol intake. It is not known if mindfulness in some way affects the influence of infidelity suspicion on physical assault. In today’s Research News article “Dispositional Mindfulness as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Perceived Partner Infidelity and Women’s Dating Violence Perpetration. Journal of interpersonal violence.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6944186/), Brem and colleagues investigate the moderating influence of mindfulness on the relationship between perceived infidelity and violence perpetration.

 

They recruited college women who were involved in a romantic relationship. They were asked to complete measures of physical assault perpetration, mindfulness, perceived partner infidelity, and alcohol use. The majority of perceived infidelity reported consisted of their partner “checking out” or flirting with another.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of alcohol use and physical assault. Additionally, they found that the higher the levels of perceived infidelity the higher the levels of alcohol use and physical assault. They also found, taking alcohol intake into account, that the relationship between perceived infidelity and physical assault was significant for women low in mindfulness but not for women high in mindfulness, suggesting a moderating influence of mindfulness.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, it has been demonstrated in previous research that mindfulness produces reductions in violent and aggressive tendencies. So, it is likely that the present findings are due to the causal consequences of mindfulness on violence and aggression. Nevertheless, the results suggest that mindfulness may lower perpetration of physical assault by preventing suspicions regarding infidelity being expressed as physical assault. This in turn suggests that mindfulness training may be useful in reducing violence and aggression in romantic relationships.

 

So, reduce dating violence due to perceived infidelity with mindfulness.

 

Although they are not designed specifically to reduce incidences of domestic violence, programs that teach people mindfulness and meditation have shown some promise in reducing incidences of violence in several settings.” – Michael Kraut

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Brem, M. J., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Zapor, H., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2018). Dispositional Mindfulness as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Perceived Partner Infidelity and Women’s Dating Violence Perpetration. Journal of interpersonal violence, 33(2), 250–267. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515604415

 

Abstract

Mindfulness gained increased attention as it relates to aggressive behavior, including dating violence. However, no known studies examined how the combined influences of dispositional mindfulness and perceived partner infidelity, a well-documented correlate of dating violence, relate to women’s dating violence perpetration. Using a sample of college women (N = 203), we examined the relationship between perceived partner infidelity and physical dating violence perpetration at varying levels of dispositional mindfulness, controlling for the influence of alcohol use. Results indicated perceived partner infidelity and dating violence perpetration were positively related for women with low and mean dispositional mindfulness, but not for women with high dispositional mindfulness. These results further support the applicability of mindfulness theory in the context of dating violence. Implications of the present findings provide preliminary support for mindfulness intervention in relationships characterized by infidelity concerns.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6944186/

 

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

young adults who participated in an app-based meditation training were less aggressive after receiving critical feedback, but not less angry. It suggests that being mindful doesn’t interfere with experiencing emotions, but changes how one responds to them.” – AMRA

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare. It may even be the basis for the horrors of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to control these violent and aggressive urges.

 

Aggression may, at least in part, be amplified by anger rumination; an uncontrollable, repetitive thinking about anger and its sources. This can produce a downward spiral where people repeatedly think about their anger which, in turn, reinforces the anger making it worse and worse. It is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying a dispute in the individual’s mind. It’s going over their anger, again and again. Fortunately, rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness and mindfulness may improve the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. This may, in part, be a mechanism by which mindfulness training reduces aggression and hostility. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to violent and aggressive urges by interrupting anger rumination and improving emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/), Garofalo and colleagues recruited adult prisoners and a community sample of adult nonoffenders. They then had them complete measures of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Correlational analysis revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of emotion regulation and the lower the levels of aggressiveness. In addition, the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of aggressiveness. Further, structural equation modelling revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples that emotion regulation mediated the relationship between mindfulness and aggressiveness. That is, the mindfulness was not associated with aggressiveness directly but rather mindfulness was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation which, in turn, was associated with lower levels of aggressiveness.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, prior research has shown a causal connection between mindfulness and higher levels of emotion regulation and that emotion regulation has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness and that mindfulness has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness. So, it is likely that the present findings are the results of causal links between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Hence, the present results suggest that being mindful goes along with having better ability to regulate emotions and that goes along with less aggressiveness. Emotion regulation is not suppression of emotions rather it is the ability to feel the emotions but not let them dictate behavior; feeling emotions but remaining in control. Thus, the results suggest that aggressiveness may result from uncontrolled reactions to emotions and that mindfulness by improving emotion regulation reduces these responses.

 

It is interesting that the results were exactly the same for both prisoners and nonoffender adults. This suggests that there is nothing special about the mechanisms controlling aggressiveness in prisoners. Rather it would appear that prisoners have a lower level of emotion regulation. This implies that improving mindfulness and emotion regulation in prisoners would lead to greater control and less violence and aggression.

 

So, reduce aggression in with mindfulness.

 

When any emotion rises up, we tend to first get caught up in it and then act it out, through speech or action. This couldn’t be truer for the heightened emotion of anger. Meditation, though, can teach us how to change a rash, reactive mindset into a more considered, responsive, and productive one.” – Headspace

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Garofalo, C., Gillespie, S. M., & Velotti, P. (2020). Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions. Aggressive behavior, 46(1), 60–71. doi:10.1002/ab.21868

 

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an increase of research on socio‐affective factors that can explain individual differences in aggressive tendencies across community and offender populations. Specifically, mindfulness and emotion regulation have emerged as important factors, which could also constitute important prevention and treatment targets. Yet, recent studies have advanced the possibility that mindfulness may also have a “dark” side, being associated with increased levels of aggression‐related variables, especially when accounting for the variance associated with emotion regulation. The present study sought to elucidate relationships among mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggression dimensions (i.e., verbal and physical aggression, anger, and hostility) across violent offender (N = 397) and community (N = 324) samples. Results revealed expected associations between both mindfulness and emotion regulation and aggression dimensions, such that greater impairments in mindfulness and emotion regulation were related to increased levels of aggression across samples. Further, analyses of indirect effects revealed that a latent emotion dysregulation factor accounted for (i.e., mediated) relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions in both samples. Previously reported positive associations between the residual variance in mindfulness scales (i.e., controlling for emotion regulation) and aggression‐related variables were not replicated in the current samples. Taken together, findings suggest that mindfulness and emotion regulation have unequivocal relations with lower levels of aggression, and should therefore be considered as relevant targets for prevention and treatment programs aimed at reducing aggressive tendencies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/

 

Reduce Aggressiveness in Militant Extremists with Yoga

Reduce Aggressiveness in Militant Extremists with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

yoga helps to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in prisoners, and crucially, decreases impulsivity—a known factor in much prison violence.” – Georgia Pike

 

As Mahatma Gandhi has recognized “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” It attempts to rectify the problem quickly, but the roots of the problem are deep and violence does not address the roots. It only deals with the surface manifestations. This is on display with militant extremists where violence has begot violence for centuries. Rather than solving the root problems, it has instead led to more and more hatred, violence, and deeper and deeper problems.

 

Militant extremism has been increasing recently. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to find methods to reduce violent and aggressive tendencies in extremists who have been captured. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce aggression and hostility. Yoga is a mindfulness practice whose effects on violent and aggressive behaviors have not been well studied. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of yoga practice in reducing aggressive tendencies in captured extremists.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Yoga Program on Convicted Extremist Offenders.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937884/), Kanchibhotla and colleagues examine the ability of yoga practice to reduce aggressiveness in militant extremists. They recruited ULFA militant extremists in Northern India who had surrendered their arms. They completed a 40-day intensive yoga workshop including postures, breathing exercises, meditation, singing, and discussions. They were measured before and after training for aggression, satisfaction with life, and quality of life including 4 dimensions, physical health, social relationships, environment, and psychological health.

 

They found that after treatment there were significant decreases in aggression including physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostile behavior. They also found significant improvements in satisfaction with life, and quality of life including physical health, environment, and psychological health.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, group. So, the study is open to many potential confounding influences and the results must be interpreted with great caution. But the study group is so unique that the findings should be considered. Yoga practice has been shown in a number of well controlled studies to reduce aggression, and improve quality of life, and satisfaction with life and reduce aggression and violence in prisoners. So, it is reasonable to suggest that the intensive yoga workshop was effective in improving the psychological health of the militant extremists.

 

This suggests that yoga practice and perhaps other mind-body practices may be effective in reducing hostility and aggression in even the most extreme offenders. This also suggests that yoga practice may be useful in treating violent and aggressive individuals generally. This may intervene and disrupt the circle of escalating violence better addressing the roots of the problem.

 

So, reduce aggressiveness in militant extremists with yoga.

 

“subjects in the yoga group showed a significant improvement from the baseline performance in aggression and results . . . are consistent with earlier researches on yoga to reduce aggression.” – Umesh Dwivedi

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kanchibhotla, D., Kulkarni, S., & Singh, S. (2020). Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Yoga Program on Convicted Extremist Offenders. International journal of yoga, 13(1), 50–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_79_18

 

Abstract

Objective:

The present study aimed to explore the effect of yoga techniques on well-being and behavior among those who have propagated and participated in extreme violence and aggression. The sample comprised 219 United Liberation Front of Assam militants selected immediately after surrender of arms in the year 2012 from all over northeast region of India.

Methodology:

The study design was a single group with pre- and posttest assessment. All participants attended a 40-day intensive Yoga workshop (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, Pranayama, Physical postures or Hatha Yoga, Meditation) conducted at Art of Living International Centre, Bengaluru. The impact of spiritual practices was observed on peace, aggression, life satisfaction, and quality of life in individuals using the aggression Buss Perry questionnaire, WHOQOL-BREF, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. The questionnaires were administered at the beginning and at the end of the 40-day workshop.

Results:

Significant results using paired t-test clearly demonstrate that by following yoga techniques (Sudarshan Kriya, Yoga, and Meditation), a reduction in aggression, quality of life, and life satisfaction can be obtained. These practices can be useful for people who want to rehabilitate themselves after incarceration or experience of militancy. The purpose of these measures is to reduce the risk of future criminality by those already convicted of violent extremist offenses, thereby protecting public safety while also benefiting individuals and communities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937884/

 

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

young adults who participated in an app-based meditation training were less aggressive after receiving critical feedback, but not less angry. It suggests that being mindful doesn’t interfere with experiencing emotions, but changes how one responds to them.” – AMRA

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare. It may even be the basis for the horrors of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to control these violent and aggressive urges.

 

Aggression may, at least in part, be amplified by anger rumination; an uncontrollable, repetitive thinking about anger and its sources. This can produce a downward spiral where people repeatedly think about their anger which, in turn, reinforces the anger making it worse and worse. It is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying a dispute in the individual’s mind. It’s going over their anger, again and again. Fortunately, rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness and mindfulness may improve the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. This may, in part, be a mechanism by which mindfulness training reduces aggression and hostility. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to violent and aggressive urges by interrupting anger rumination and improving emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/), Garofalo and colleagues recruited adult prisoners and a community sample of adult nonoffenders. They then had them complete measures of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Correlational analysis revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of emotion regulation and the lower the levels of aggressiveness. In addition, the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of aggressiveness. Further, structural equation modelling revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples that emotion regulation mediated the relationship between mindfulness and aggressiveness. That is, the mindfulness was not associated with aggressiveness directly but rather mindfulness was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation which, in turn, was associated with lower levels of aggressiveness.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, prior research has shown a causal connection between mindfulness and higher levels of emotion regulation and that emotion regulation has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness and that mindfulness has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness. So, it is likely that the present findings are the results of causal links between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Hence, the present results suggest that being mindful goes along with having better ability to regulate emotions and that goes along with less aggressiveness. Emotion regulation is not suppression of emotions rather it is the ability to feel the emotions but not let them dictate behavior; feeling emotions but remaining in control. Thus, the results suggest that aggressiveness may result from uncontrolled reactions to emotions and that mindfulness by improving emotion regulation reduces these responses.

 

It is interesting that the results were exactly the same for both prisoners and nonoffender adults. This suggests that there is nothing special about the mechanisms controlling aggressiveness in prisoners. Rather it would appear that prisoners have a lower level of emotion regulation. This implies that improving mindfulness and emotion regulation in prisoners would lead to greater control and less violence and aggression.

 

So, reduce aggression in with mindfulness.

 

When any emotion rises up, we tend to first get caught up in it and then act it out, through speech or action. This couldn’t be truer for the heightened emotion of anger. Meditation, though, can teach us how to change a rash, reactive mindset into a more considered, responsive, and productive one.” – Headspace

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Garofalo, C., Gillespie, S. M., & Velotti, P. (2020). Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions. Aggressive behavior, 46(1), 60–71. doi:10.1002/ab.21868

 

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an increase of research on socio‐affective factors that can explain individual differences in aggressive tendencies across community and offender populations. Specifically, mindfulness and emotion regulation have emerged as important factors, which could also constitute important prevention and treatment targets. Yet, recent studies have advanced the possibility that mindfulness may also have a “dark” side, being associated with increased levels of aggression‐related variables, especially when accounting for the variance associated with emotion regulation. The present study sought to elucidate relationships among mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggression dimensions (i.e., verbal and physical aggression, anger, and hostility) across violent offender (N = 397) and community (N = 324) samples. Results revealed expected associations between both mindfulness and emotion regulation and aggression dimensions, such that greater impairments in mindfulness and emotion regulation were related to increased levels of aggression across samples. Further, analyses of indirect effects revealed that a latent emotion dysregulation factor accounted for (i.e., mediated) relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions in both samples. Previously reported positive associations between the residual variance in mindfulness scales (i.e., controlling for emotion regulation) and aggression‐related variables were not replicated in the current samples. Taken together, findings suggest that mindfulness and emotion regulation have unequivocal relations with lower levels of aggression, and should therefore be considered as relevant targets for prevention and treatment programs aimed at reducing aggressive tendencies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Aggression by Lowering Rumination

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Aggression by Lowering Rumination

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness may restore the emotional resources needed to maintain self-control, and thus may have an important role to play in anger management by helping people to mindfully respond to provocation rather than react with anger.”- AMRA

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare. It may even be the basis for the horrors of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to control these violent and aggressive urges.

 

Aggression may, at least in part, be amplified by anger rumination; an uncontrollable, repetitive thinking about anger and its sources. This can produce a downward spiral where people repeatedly think about their anger which, in turn, reinforces the anger making it worse and worse. It is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying a dispute in the individual’s mind. It’s going over their anger, again and again. Fortunately, rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness. This may, in part, be a mechanism by which mindfulness training reduces aggression and hostility. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to violent and aggressive urges by interrupting anger rumination.

 

In today’s Research News article “Both trait and state mindfulness predict lower aggressiveness via anger rumination: A multilevel mediation analysis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943669/, Eisenlohr-Moul and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete measures of overall and daily levels of mindfulness, anger, anger rumination, anger expression, aggressive inclinations, and aggressive behaviors. Daily measures were collected for 35 consecutive days. They analyzed the responses with sophisticated statistical modelling techniques.

 

They found that the higher the levels of daily the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-judging the lower the levels of daily aggression, daily anger, and daily anger rumination. They also found that the higher the levels of daily anger and daily anger rumination the higher the levels of daily aggression. Hence, mindfulness predicted lower aggression while anger and anger rumination predicted higher aggression. When all three were used to predict aggression, the effects of mindfulness disappeared. With a mediation model, they were able to demonstrate that mindfulness was associated with lower aggression indirectly by mindfulness’ effects on anger and anger rumination which in turn effected aggression. So, mindfulness acted on aggression by the intermediaries of reduced anger and anger rumination.

 

These results are correlational and thus causation cannot be determined. There is a need to investigate whether mindfulness training can produce similar effects. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that the ability of mindfulness to lower anger and interrupt anger rumination may be the keys to the effectiveness of mindfulness in lowering aggression. By focusing on the present moment and not on past transgressions or worries about the future, rumination is disrupted. This in turn, lowers the likelihood of aggressive behavior. In this way mindfulness may be a means to lower the levels of aggression and violence in the modern world.

 

So, lower aggression by lowering rumination with mindfulness.

 

“The first step to managing your anger is to sit with it long enough to hear what it wants to tell you. To do this, you must turn to your body. Your body contains an abundance of information, and it never lies. By listening carefully to your body, you can build new habits for approaching your feelings. A new response strategy will replace the passive-aggressive pattern that may have dominated your life. And mindfulness is the key.” – Andrea Brandt

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Peters, J. R., Pond, R. S., & DeWall, C. N. (2016). Both trait and state mindfulness predict lower aggressiveness via anger rumination: A multilevel mediation analysis. Mindfulness, 7(3), 713–726. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0508-x

 

Abstract

Trait mindfulness, or the capacity for nonjudgmental, present-centered attention, predicts lower aggression in cross-sectional samples, an effect mediated by reduced anger rumination. Experimental work also implicates state mindfulness (i.e., fluctuations around one’s typical mindfulness) in aggression. Despite evidence that both trait and state mindfulness predict lower aggression, their relative impact and their mechanisms remain unclear. Higher trait mindfulness and state increases in mindfulness facets may reduce aggression-related outcomes by (1) limiting the intensity of anger, or (2) limiting rumination on anger experiences. The present study tests two hypotheses: First, that both trait and state mindfulness contribute unique variance to lower aggressiveness, and second, that the impact of both trait and state mindfulness on aggressiveness will be uniquely partially mediated by both anger intensity and anger rumination. 86 participants completed trait measures of mindfulness, anger intensity, and anger rumination, then completed diaries for 35 days assessing mindfulness, anger intensity, anger rumination, anger expression, and self-reported and behavioral aggressiveness. Using multilevel zero-inflated regression, we examined unique contributions of trait and state mindfulness facets to daily anger expression and aggressiveness. We also examined the mediating roles of anger intensity and anger rumination at both trait and state levels. Mindfulness facets predicted anger expression and aggressiveness indirectly through anger rumination after controlling for indirect pathways through anger intensity. Individuals with high or fluctuating aggression may benefit from mindfulness training to reduce both intensity of and rumination on anger.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943669/

Mindfulness is Associated with Less On-Line Reduce Dating Violence

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The ability to restrain oneself from acting on aggressive impulses is arguably a crucial aspect of human functioning and interaction. Yet growing evidence in the literature suggests that people’s self-control resources may be limited and, at times, self-controlled regulation could even increase the association between aggressive triggers and aggressive behaviour. As an alternative, mindfulness practices encourage individuals to be aware and accept their aggression-related thoughts and emotions simply as an ephemeral state rather than to control them.“ – Cleoputri Yusainy

 

Dating should be a time for young people to get together, get to know one another and have fun. But all too often, dating involves violence or aggression. Nearly 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year, 33% are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and 10% have been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt. Dating violence doesn’t just occur in High School as 43% of college women experience violent or abusive dating behaviors. The abuse often occurs on-line as 36% of college students have given a dating partner their computer, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse sometimes called technology-delivered dating aggression (TDA). Sadly, only about a third of the victims ever tell anyone about the abuse.

 

Compounding the problem youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, abuse tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, and consider suicide. Hence it is important to find ways to prevent dating violence. A first step is to investigate the factors that may be predictive of dating aggression and conversely of safe dating. This could lead to methods to better address the problem. In today’s Research News article “Technology-Delivered Dating Aggression: Risk and Promotive Factors and Patterns of Associations Across Violence Types Among High-Risk Youth.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1385942084763047/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997710/

Epstein-Ngo and colleagues recruited youths 14-20 years old, who came to an emergency room for any reason and administered a survey on a tablet computer measuring demographics, substance use, physical dating violence, nondating violence, community violence exposure, technology-delivered dating violence (TDA), victimization and/or aggression, mentors, religious support, self-esteem, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the youths who had a dating partner in the past 2 months, 48.1% reported technology-delivered dating aggression (TDA) while 44.3% reported physical dating violence. A culture of violence was found to be an important risk factor as having experienced physical violence and/or been exposed to violence in the community were significantly associated with TDA. Alcohol use was also significantly associated with TDA. Finally, they found that high levels of mindfulness were associated with low levels of TDA.

 

Hence, in this sample of dating youths, technology-delivered dating violence (TDA) was prevalent and associated with alcohol and other violent experiences. Significantly, mindfulness was negatively associated with TDA. This suggests that exposure to violence may be an important promotive factor that could lead to a cycle of violence, where violence leads to more violence. Importantly, the results suggest that mindfulness may be an antidote. They further suggest that mindfulness training in youths may help to prevent TDA and dating violence in general. Obviously, much more work needs to be done. But, mindfulness training may be an important strategy to reduce the scourge of dating violence.

 

 “Mindfulness training is a technique that shows great promise as a tool for the development of healthy and constructive management of negative emotions. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. It has been used with success in populations as diverse as cardiac patients, prison inmates, police officers, and children. It incorporates deep breathing, heightened attention to one’s internal state, and the acceptance of internal discomfort. One can observe one’s own thoughts without identifying with them and acting on them.” – Laura Hayes

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Epstein-Ngo, Q. M., Roche, J. S., Walton, M. A., Zimmerman, M. A., Chermack, S. T., & Cunningham, R. M. (2014). Technology-Delivered Dating Aggression: Risk and Promotive Factors and Patterns of Associations Across Violence Types Among High-Risk Youth. Violence and Gender, 1(3), 131–133. http://doi.org/10.1089/vio.2014.0018

 

Abstract

Increasingly, technology (text, e-mail, and social media) is being used in dating relationships to stalk, control, threaten, and harass dating partners. This study examines risk and promotive factors associated with technology-delivered dating aggression (TDA) and relations between types of violence (physical dating/nondating, community violence, and TDA). Participants (14–20 years old) self-administered a computerized survey as part of a larger study at an urban emergency department. The study includes 210 youth who reported having a dating partner in the past 2 months. About 48.1% of participants reported TDA in the past 2 months. Mindfulness was negatively associated with TDA. Youth reporting TDA were more likely to report physical dating violence and community violence exposure. TDA is not an isolated occurrence and is positively associated with in-person violence among adolescents. Associations between TDA, risk and promotive factors, and other forms of violence can help identify avenues for targeting interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997710/

 

Settle Down Out-of-Control Teens with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In the last few years, mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” – Juliann Garey

 

The last component of the nervous system to develop is the higher cortical areas that underlying behavioral inhibition; the ability to hold back responses. As a result, the adolescent brain is fully developed to produce behavior and react to the environment, but is defective in the ability to withhold or restrain behaviors when inappropriate. So, adolescents are often impulsive, take unnecessary risks, and can be inappropriately aggressive, leading to disciplinary problems.

 

This late development of higher level control of behavior is responsible for some troubling statistics. Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, but they account for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males. Regarding youth violence and aggression, 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical fights, one million U.S. students took guns to school and six thousand were kicked out of school for packing weapons, the annual death toll from school shootings has more than doubled, the youth homicide rate increased by 168 percent, and juvenile arrest for possession of weapons, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder have risen more than 50 percent.

 

It is important for society to control violent and aggressive behavior and late adolescence and young adulthood are periods when the likelihood is high. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce violence and aggression in adults. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate whether mindfulness training may be effective in helping to control the aggressive tendencies of youth. In today’s Research News article “Effect of a Mindfulness Training Program on the Impulsivity and Aggression Levels of Adolescents with Behavioral Problems in the Classroom.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1367699476587308/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01385/full?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Psychology-w40-2016

Franco and colleagues recruited 12-19 year old youths who had multiple incidents of misbehavior in school. The students were randomly assigned to either receive 20-weeks of 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week, of open monitoring meditation, or to a wait list control condition. Before and after training the youths were measured for aggression and impulsivity with self-report psychometric scales.

 

They found that the meditation group, but not the control group, had significant reductions in overall impulsivity (14%), including significant reductions in cognitive (19%), motor (13%), and non-planned (10%) impulsivity and also significant reductions in physical (14%) and verbal (24%) aggression, and hostility (19%) and anger (16%). All of these effects had large significant effect sizes. Hence, meditation training produced marked reduction in impulsivity and aggression in these troubled adolescents.

 

These are impressive results and suggest that meditation may be very effective in helping adolescents control their impulsivity and aggression. Gaining control over their behavior may allow them to engage in their education without distraction. Meditation may have this impact as a result of its ability to improve emotion regulation, providing the youths with the ability to cope with emotions in a more positive and adaptive way. It may also act by decreasing rumination and worry and thereby reduce the effects of past issues and worries about the future to intrude on present behavior. Regardless of the explanation, the results are exciting and suggest that meditation practice should be tried for troubled youth in other settings.

 

So, settle down out-of-control teens with mindfulness.

 

“It is suggested here that there is a difference between knowing about emotions and knowing your own emotions as they are experienced. In addition to learning about emotions, there is a distinct advantage in learning how to notice what’s happening in the present moment. Attending to and identifying emotions can mitigate the emotional reaction and increase emotional balance and clarity.” –  Tina Barseghian

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Franco C, Amutio A, López-González L, Oriol X and Martínez-Taboada C (2016) Effect of a Mindfulness Training Program on the Impulsivity and Aggression Levels of Adolescents with Behavioral Problems in the Classroom. Front. Psychol. 7:1385. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01385

 

Objective: The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of a mindfulness training psycho-educative program on impulsivity and aggression levels in a sample of high school students.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial with pre-test–post-test measurements was applied to an experimental group and a control group (waiting list). The Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11) Patton et al. (1995) and the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss and Perry, 1992) were used.

Results: Statistical analyses showed a significant decrease in the levels of impulsivity and aggressiveness in the experimental group compared with the control group. These results have important implications for improving the level of academic engagement and self-efficacy of students and for reducing school failure.

Conclusion: This is one of the first studies showing the effectiveness of mindfulness training at reducing impulsive and aggressive behaviors in the classroom. The efficacy of mindfulness-based programs is emphasized.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01385/full?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Psychology-w40-2016

 

Tamp Down Impulsivity and Aggression in Youth with Mindfulness

 

“When you are angry, when you feel despair, you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, to generate the energy of mindfulness. This energy allows you to recognize and embrace your painful feelings.“ – Thich Nhat Hahn

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It is a sad fact that late adolescence and young adulthood are dangerous times in life. The body is either fully developed or close to it, but the brain lags behind, especially the frontal areas that inhibit and control basic instincts and reactions. As a result, youth often react aggressively and impulsively without higher level control of these behaviors. This is responsible for some troubling statistics. Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, but they account for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males. Regarding youth violence and aggression, 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical fights, one million U.S. students took guns to school and six thousand were kicked out of school for packing weapons, the annual death toll from school shootings has more than doubled, the youth homicide rate increased by 168 percent, and juvenile arrest for possession of weapons, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder have risen more than 50 percent.

 

It is important for society to control violent and aggressive behavior and late adolescence and young adulthood are periods when the likelihood is high. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce violence and aggression in adults. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate whether mindfulness may be effective in helping to control the aggressive tendencies of youth. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Program for Management of Aggression Among Youth: A Follow-up Study.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1280433211980602/?type=3&theater

or below, Sharma and colleagues investigate this idea. They provided training in mindfulness meditation to youth who were having difficulty controlling aggression. Prior to the training 22% involved themselves in physical violence, 12% also used weapons during aggression, and 14.2% had experienced injuries due to fights. They found that after the training, there were significant decreases in physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility, rumination, and a decrease in urges to smoke, and significant increases in physical and environmental quality of life, well-being, relaxation, and interpersonal interactions.

 

These results are encouraging that meditation training can help in controlling hostility and aggression in difficult youth. But, without a control comparison condition, the findings have to be viewed cautiously. There is a need for a randomized controlled clinical trial to provide unambiguous evidence that meditation practice can reduce aggressive and impulsive tendencies in youth. It makes sense that mindfulness could do this as it’s been demonstrated that mindfulness training improves executive function and frontal lobe activity which are deficient in youth. The results of this study, although flawed, make a compelling case that further research is warranted.

 

So, tamp down impulsivity and aggression in youth with mindfulness.

 

“After 20 years of working with mindfulness I’ve begun to notice that aggression and reactivity still arise.  Yay.  The difference? Practising the practice has given me the little bit of gap I need to see my desire to jump down someone’s throat, before I actually do it.” – Elaine Smookler

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Sharma, M. K., Sharma, M. P., & Marimuthu, P. (2016). Mindfulness-Based Program for Management of Aggression Among Youth: A Follow-up Study. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 38(3), 213–216. http://doi.org.ezproxy.shsu.edu/10.4103/0253-7176.183087

 

Abstract

Background: Youth have shown indulgence in various high-risk behaviors and violent activities. Yoga-based approaches have been used for the management of psychological problems. The present work explores the role of mindfulness-based program in the management of aggression among youth.

Materials and Methods: Sociodemographic information schedule, Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, and World Health Organization quality of life were administered on 50 subjects in the age range of 18-25 years at pre- and post-mindfulness-based program level.

Results: It revealed the presence of feeling of well-being and ability to relax themselves; changes in score of anger, hostility, physical, and verbal aggression; and enhancement of quality of life in the physical and environment domains at 1 month follow-up.

Conclusions: Mindfulness-based program has shown changes in aggression expression/control and implies integration of it in available program for the management of aggression among youth.