Reduce Risky Driving with Mindfulness

Reduce Risky Driving with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Distraction mitigation techniques like mindfulness are looming as essential to save lives on our roads especially among young drivers who have high rates of addiction to technology, and who overestimate their ability to multitask and underestimate the dangers of driver distraction.” – Kristie Young

 

Driving is one of the riskiest behaviors that we engage in even though we believe it to be safe. Nearly 17,000 people in the U.S. die in automobile accidents each year. Beyond the inherent danger of driving, risk is markedly increased by risky decisions while driving. These include speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, impulsive or aggressive driving, and emotional driving. Mindfulness may be helpful as mindfulness increases attention and emotion regulation and decreases impulsivity and aggression. But there has been little research on the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing risky driving.

 

In today’s Research News article “Repeat Traffic Offenders Improve Their Performance in Risky Driving Situations and Have Fewer Accidents Following a Mindfulness-Based Intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.567278/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1547234_69_Psycho_20210204_arts_A ) Baltruschat and colleagues recruited online adult drivers and obtained self-report records of traffic violations. They identified repeat offenders as drivers who reported multiple instances of risky driving and randomly separated them into a mindfulness and control groups. The mindfulness group met for 3 hours once a week for 5 weeks and received mindfulness training modelled after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. All participants were measured before and after training for emotion regulation, cognitive emotion regulation, and risky driving behavior in a driving simulator when confronted with high-risk scenarios.

 

They found that after training the mindfulness trained repeat offenders had significantly better driving performance in the simulator and fewer simulated accidents resulting from high-risk simulation scenarios than either the non-trained repeat offenders or non-repeat offenders. There were no significant differences found in emotion regulation.

 

These are interesting results. But it must be recognized that the driving simulator is an artificial environment and the risk scenarios did not involve real risk. So, it is not clear that the present results predict driving behavior in the real world. There are a number of possible explanations for the improvement in driving behavior produced by mindfulness training. The lack of significant effects on emotion regulation in the present study was surprising but may indicate that improvement in the individual’s ability to work with their emotions is not how mindfulness improves driving. It remains for future research to investigate other possible mechanisms such as impulsivity, aggression, or attentional effects.

 

Regardless, mindfulness training appears to reduce risk taking behavior and may produce better drivers. Such training, incorporated into traditional driver training courses, may reduce accident rates and deaths on the roads. Future research should investigate this possibility.

 

So, reduce risky driving with mindfulness.

 

individuals who engage in mindfulness are less likely to text and drive; a crucial statistic seeing as the National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving kills more than 3,000 people each year.” – SBG-TV

 

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

 

Baltruschat S, Mas-Cuesta L, Cándido A, Maldonado A, Verdejo-Lucas C, Catena-Verdejo E and Catena A (2021) Repeat Traffic Offenders Improve Their Performance in Risky Driving Situations and Have Fewer Accidents Following a Mindfulness-Based Intervention. Front. Psychol. 11:567278. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.567278

 

ABSTRACT

Risky decision-making is highly influenced by emotions and can lead to fatal consequences. Attempts to reduce risk-taking include the use of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI), which have shown promising results for both emotion regulation (ER) and risk-taking. However, it is still unclear whether improved emotion regulation is the mechanism responsible for reduced risk-taking. In the present study, we explore the effect of a 5-week MBI on risky driving in a group of repeat traffic offenders by comparing them with non-repeat offenders and repeat offenders without training. We evaluated the driving behavior of the participants through a driving simulation, and self-reported emotion regulation, both before and after the intervention. At baseline, poor emotion regulation was related to a more unstable driving behavior, and speeding. The group that received mindfulness training showed improved performance during risky driving situations and had fewer accidents, although their overall driving behavior remained largely unchanged. The observed trend toward improved emotion regulation was not significant. We discuss whether other effects of MBI – such as self-regulation of attention – could underlie the observed reduction in risky driving in the initial stages. Nonetheless, our findings still confirm the close relationship between emotion regulation skills and risky driving.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.567278/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1547234_69_Psycho_20210204_arts_A

 

Reduce Migraine Symptoms with Yoga or Physical Therapy

Reduce Migraine Symptoms with Yoga or Physical Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Overall, yoga improved the cardiac autonomic balance. Disturbances in the autonomic nervous system and in the regulation of the circulatory system are associated with migraines. If balance is restored, the likelihood of a migraine is reduced.” – Debra Sullivan

 

Migraine headaches are a torment far beyond the suffering of a common headache. It is an intense throbbing pain usually unilateral, focused on only one side of the head and lasts from 4 hours to 3 days. They are actually a collection of neurological symptoms. Migraines often include: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face. Migraines are the 8th most disabling illness in the world. While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, about 4% have chronic daily headaches. Migraines are very disruptive to the sufferer’s personal and work lives as most people are unable to work or function normally when experiencing a migraine.

 

There is no known cure for migraine headaches. Treatments are targeted at managing the symptoms. Prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers are frequently used. There are a number of drug and drug combinations that appear to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. These vary in effectiveness but unfortunately can have troubling side effects and some are addictive. Behaviorally, relaxation, exercise, and sleep appear to help lower the frequency of migraines. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce stress and improve relaxation. So, they may be useful in preventing migraines. Indeed, it has been shown that mindfulness practice can reduce headache pain. Yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It has also been shown to help reduce pain. Hence, it may be effective in treating migraines.

 

In today’s Research News article “Study of Additive Effect of Yoga and Physical Therapies to Standard Pharmacologic Treatment in Migraine.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7846311/ ) Mehta and colleagues recruited adult patients diagnosed with migraine headaches and randomly assigned them to either standard care or to receive standard care plus either yoga training or physical therapy. They were trained and then practiced at home daily for 3 months. Before training, at 1 and 2-months during training, and after training they were measured for headache pain and headache frequency and headache impact.

 

They found that all three groups had significant reductions in migraine frequency, severity (pain), and impact on life. Both yoga and physical therapy reduced frequency and impact on life to a significantly greater extent than standard care.

 

These findings suggest that either yoga or physical therapy when added to standard care for migraine headache produces significant additional improvements in the symptoms of migraine headaches. The fact that yoga and physical therapy did not differ in effectiveness suggests that the physical exercise provided by yoga is the reason for yoga’s effectiveness. These findings suggest that yoga practice or physical therapy should be added to the standard care for patients with Migraine headaches.

 

So, reduce migraine symptoms with yoga or physical therapy.

 

Yoga’s postures, deep breathing and meditation . . . could be very helpful in both treating migraine and fighting the disability associated with migraine.” – American Migraine Foundation

 

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

 

Mehta, J. N., Parikh, S., Desai, S. D., Solanki, R. C., & G. Pathak, A. (2021). Study of Additive Effect of Yoga and Physical Therapies to Standard Pharmacologic Treatment in Migraine. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, 12(1), 60–66. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1718842

 

Abstract

Objective  We aimed to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of physical and yoga therapies as an adjuvant therapy along with standard pharmacologic treatment in patients with migraine.

Materials and Methods  A total of 61 consenting patients diagnosed to have migraine were randomized into three groups to receive either standard treatment alone, physical therapy along with standard treatment, or yoga therapy along with standard treatment. The respective adjuvant intervention was taught to the respective group of patients and they were advised to perform it daily for 3 months with weekly telephonic reminders and review of their activity logs. Outcome measures assessed were headache frequency, Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), and Headache Impact Test-6 (HIT-6) at recruitment and once every month for 3 months.

Statistical Analysis  Statistical analysis of the study was done by using Stata 14.1 software. All the descriptive statistics, paired t -test was used to compare the difference between pre and postintervention values of headache frequency, SF-MPQ, and HIT-6 score within all the three groups. Analysis of variance test and post hoc test were used to compare the differences between all groups for outcome measures ( p < 0.05).

Results  Headache frequency and the visual analog scale before intervention compared during each month intervals for 3 months in all the three groups were significantly decreased in all the three groups ( p < 0.005). Yoga or physical therapy as an adjuvant to standard treatment leads to a higher reduction in headache frequency and severity. Sensory and affective pain ratings of SF-MPQ and HIT-6 also showed a significant improvement at 1 to 3 months of treatment compared with baseline in all the three groups.

Conclusion  Either physical or yoga therapy as an adjuvant to standard pharmacologic treatment may further improve the quality of life and reduce headache frequency in patients with migraine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7846311/

 

Further Improve Health Care Professionals’ Mental Health with Supplemental Mindfulness Training

Further Improve Health Care Professionals’ Mental Health with Supplemental Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The therapeutic applications of mindfulness are considerable and its impact on clinical practice itself appears to be profound. Indeed, several commentators characterize mindfulness as inciting nothing short of a revolution in the way we conduct our mental lives both within the clinic and without.” – Matias P. Raski

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system.

 

Preventing the negative psychological consequences of stress in healthcare professionals has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Once mindfulness has been established it is not known if additional mindfulness training will produce greater benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program for Health Care Professionals: a Feasibility Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447696/ ) Bartels-Velthui and colleagues recruited health care professionals who had already received mindfulness training with either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  The participants in the training group were further treated with an Interpersonal Mindfulness Course. This course was designed for participants who had already received mindfulness training to deepen mindful presence, empathy and compassion with other people. The course met for 9-weekly, 2.5-hour sessions combined with 45 to 60 minutes of daily home practice. All participants were measured before and after training for the feasibility and acceptability of the program, mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, stress, and quality of life.

 

They found that the program was feasible as all participants completed the program and acceptable as 88% report the program to be highly relevant and would recommend it to others. They found that compared to baseline and the control group the participants who received the additional mindfulness training had significant improvements in self-compassion, empathy and compassion fatigue.

 

These are very interesting findings in that health care professionals who had already received mindfulness training had further increases in self-compassion, empathy and compassion fatigue when provided a program designed to improve mindfulness with other people. It is well known that mindfulness training improves self-compassion, empathy and compassion fatigue. These findings, though, suggests that these improvements can be strengthened with further training. In addition, the improvements were in characteristics that would tend to reduce health care professional burnout. The fact that the program emphasized being mindful of other people suggests that the health care workers would be have more empathy and understanding in treating their patients.

 

So, further improve health care professionals’ mental health with supplemental mindfulness training.

 

mindfulness can result in decreased burnout and improved well-being. Mindfulness is a useful way of cultivating self-kindness and compassion, including by bringing increased awareness to and acceptance of those things that are beyond our control.” – Kate Fitzpatrick

 

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

 

Bartels-Velthuis, A. A., van den Brink, E., Koster, F., & Hoenders, H. (2020). The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program for Health Care Professionals: a Feasibility Study. Mindfulness, 1–10. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01477-5

 

Abstract

Objectives

There are a number of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) that have demonstrated effectiveness for patients and health care professionals. The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program (IMP) is a relatively new MBP, developed to teach those with prior mindfulness training to deepen their mindful presence, empathy and compassion in the interpersonal domain. The aim of the present study was to examine the feasibility of using the IMP with mental health care workers and assessing its effects on levels of mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, stress and professional quality of life when compared with the control group participants.

Methods

The IMP training consisted of nine weekly 2.5-h sessions and daily home practice (45–60 min). Twenty-five participants (mean age, 51.4 years) with mindfulness experience participated in the training. Twenty-two individuals in the control group (mean age, 47.5 years) were recruited from those who had followed a mindfulness training before. Feasibility of the IMP was assessed in the training participants in six domains. All study participants completed self-report questionnaires before and after the training.

Results

The IMP training was considered highly acceptable and very useful. The training had a significant positive effect on self-compassion, empathy and compassion fatigue, but no effect on mindfulness, stress and compassion satisfaction. Five participants reported some mild adverse reactions.

Conclusions

The IMP training appears feasible for health care professionals and seems to induce some positive effects. A few mild adverse effects were reported. Further research on the effectiveness and possible mechanisms of change of the IMP training in larger samples is needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447696/

 

Mind Wandering is Negatively Associated with Attention and Academic Success

Mind Wandering is Negatively Associated with Attention and Academic Success

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mind-wandering–related deficits in performance have been observed in many contexts, most notably reading, tests of sustained attention, and tests of aptitude.” – Sara Briggs

 

We spend a tremendous amount of waking time with our minds wandering and not on the present environment or the task at hand. We daydream, plan for the future, review the past, ruminate on our failures, exalt in our successes. In fact, we spend almost half of our waking hours off task with our mind wandering. Mindfulness is the antithesis of mind wandering. When we’re mindful, we’re paying attention to what is occurring in the present moment. In fact, the more mindful we are the less the mind wanders and mindfulness training reduces mind wandering.

 

You’d think that if we spend so much time with the mind wandering it must be enjoyable. But, in fact research has shown that when our minds are wandering, we are actually less happy than when we are paying attention to what is at hand. There are times when mind wandering may be useful, especially in regard to planning and creative thinking. But, for the most part, it interferes with our concentration on the present moment and what we’re doing and makes us unhappy. There is budding research interest in studying mind wandering and its effects upon academic success.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trait-Level Variability in Attention Modulates Mind Wandering and Academic Achievement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271744/ )  In the first of two experiments, Pereira and colleagues recruited participants online and had them complete measures of overall grade point average, levels of mind wandering, effortful control, orienting sensitivity, and negative emotions. They found that mind wandering was reported to occur 19% of the time. They found that the higher the levels of mind wandering, the lower the levels of effortful control and extraversion, but higher levels of negative emotions. They also found that for participants low in effortful control that mind wandering was associated with lower academic performance while for those high in effortful control mind wandering was associated with better academic performance.

 

In the first experiment they used a self-report measure of mind wandering. In the second experiment they employed an objective measure of mind wandering. They recruited college students and had them complete the same measures as in the first experiment. They then tested them with a visual metronome (tracking) task where response variation is an objective measure of mind wandering. Similar to experiment 1 they found that the higher the levels of mind wandering, the lower the levels of effortful control.

 

The results suggest that one of the key associations of mind wandering is with lower effortful control. Effortful control is a measure of the ability to focus attention. The measure involves agreement with statements such as “I can keep performing a task even when I would rather not do it.” Since the results are correlational it cannot be determined if mind wandering lowers effortful control or if effortful control lowers mind wandering. It will require a manipulative study to determine this. Regardless, the results suggest that mind wandering and effortful control are negatively related and that high effortful control appears to counteract the negative effect of mind wandering on academic performance.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be associated with lower mind wandering and better academic performance. It would be interesting to investigate the ability of mindfulness training to produce changes in effortful control and mind wandering and their relationship with academic performance.

 

So, mind wandering is negatively associated with attention and academic success.

 

mind wandering is related to lecture comprehension, reading, general academic ability, problem solving, and future planning.” – Amy Pachai

 

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

 

Pereira, E. J., Gurguryan, L., & Ristic, J. (2020). Trait-Level Variability in Attention Modulates Mind Wandering and Academic Achievement. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 909. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00909

 

Abstract

Although mind wandering remains ubiquitous in daily life, the processes that underlie and sustain this behavior remain poorly understood. Across two experiments, we studied the role of intrinsic temperament traits, which shape stable behavioral processes, in moderating the association between mind wandering and the real-life functional outcome of academic success. In Experiment 1, participants completed the Mind Wandering Questionnaire, the Adult Temperament Questionnaire, and reported their grade for the highest degree completed or in progress. Individuals with traits of low Effortful control, high Negative affect, and low Extraversion indicated more mind wandering. Effortful control moderated the relationship between mind wandering and academic success, with higher tendency for mind wandering associated with higher academic achievement for individuals with high Effortful control, and lower academic achievement for those with low Effortful control. Experiment 2 confirmed these links using the visual metronome response task, an objective measure of mind wandering. Together, these results suggest that the intrinsic temperament trait of Effortful control represents one of the key mechanisms behind the functional influence of mind wandering on real-life outcomes. This work places an innate ability to control attention at the very core of real life success, and highlights the need for studying mind wandering through an interdisciplinary lens that brings together cognitive, biological, social, and clinical theories in order to understand the fundamental mechanisms that drive this behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271744/

 

Reduce Opioid-Treated Pain and Opioid Dosage with Mindfulness

Reduce Opioid-Treated Pain and Opioid Dosage with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mind-body therapies — including meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis — were associated with improvements in pain and reduced opioid doses.” – Erin Michael

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. What is not known is the most effective mind-body treatments for chronic pain. There are a large variety of mind-body therapies including meditation, hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is not known which are the most effective for reducing pain and opioid use in patients with chronic pain who are being treated with opioids.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-Body Therapies for Opioid-Treated Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830441/ ) Garland and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mind-body techniques for opioid-treated pain. They identified 60 published trials.

 

They report that the published research found that the studies that used Mind-Body Therapies produced significant reductions in pain outcomes and opioid use. This was true for studies that employed meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with the largest effect sizes found for meditation. Suggestion, imagery, and relaxation were all found to be less effective.

 

Hence, the published randomized controlled trials support the use of Mind-Body Therapies for the treatment of patients with chronic pain who are being treated with opioids. Meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are particularly effective in both treating pain and reducing opioid use. This is compatible with other results that mindfulness meditation has been repeatedly shown to reduce pain and improve recovery from opioid addiction.

 

Meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have a common property of changing the patient’s thought patterns associated with their pain and thereby alter their relationship with the pain. These thought patterns such as worry, rumination, and catastrophizing tend to amplify the physical pain. Reducing these tendencies can eliminate the amplification and thereby reduce the experienced pain. With less pain, less opioids are needed to control it.

 

So, reduce opioid-treated pain and opioid dosage with mindfulness.

 

Using mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis, therapeutic suggestion, and cognitive behavior therapy, in addition to opioid treatment of acute or chronic pain, provides an additional benefit to patients by reducing pain scores. Some of these interventions will decrease the duration or amount of opioid needed.” – Sumi Sexton

 

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

 

Garland, E. L., Brintz, C. E., Hanley, A. W., Roseen, E. J., Atchley, R. M., Gaylord, S. A., Faurot, K. R., Yaffe, J., Fiander, M., & Keefe, F. J. (2019). Mind-Body Therapies for Opioid-Treated Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 180(1), 91–105. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.4917

 

Key Points

Question

Are mind-body therapies (ie, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion, and cognitive behavioral therapy) associated with pain reduction and opioid-related outcome improvement among adults using opioids for pain?

Findings

In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 60 randomized clinical trials with 6404 participants, mind-body therapies were associated with improved pain (Cohen d = −0.51; 95% CI, −0.76 to −0.27) and reduced opioid dose (Cohen d = −0.26; 95% CI, −0.44 to −0.08).

Meaning

Practitioners should be aware that mind-body therapies may be associated with moderate improvements in pain and small reductions in opioid dose.

Abstract

Importance

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are emerging as potential tools for addressing the opioid crisis. Knowing whether mind-body therapies may benefit patients treated with opioids for acute, procedural, and chronic pain conditions may be useful for prescribers, payers, policy makers, and patients.

Objective

To evaluate the association of MBTs with pain and opioid dose reduction in a diverse adult population with clinical pain.

Data Sources

For this systematic review and meta-analysis, the MEDLINE, Embase, Emcare, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for English-language randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews from date of inception to March 2018. Search logic included (pain OR analgesia OR opioids) AND mind-body therapies. The gray literature, ClinicalTrials.gov, and relevant bibliographies were also searched.

Study Selection

Randomized clinical trials that evaluated the use of MBTs for symptom management in adults also prescribed opioids for clinical pain.

Data Extraction and Synthesis

Independent reviewers screened citations, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Meta-analyses were conducted using standardized mean differences in pain and opioid dose to obtain aggregate estimates of effect size with 95% CIs.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was pain intensity. The secondary outcomes were opioid dose, opioid misuse, opioid craving, disability, or function.

Results

Of 4212 citations reviewed, 60 reports with 6404 participants were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, MBTs were associated with pain reduction (Cohen d = −0.51; 95% CI, −0.76 to −0.26) and reduced opioid dose (Cohen d = −0.26; 95% CI, −0.44 to −0.08). Studies tested meditation (n = 5), hypnosis (n = 25), relaxation (n = 14), guided imagery (n = 7), therapeutic suggestion (n = 6), and cognitive behavioral therapy (n = 7) interventions. Moderate to large effect size improvements in pain outcomes were found for meditation (Cohen d = −0.70), hypnosis (Cohen d = −0.54), suggestion (Cohen d = −0.68), and cognitive behavioral therapy (Cohen d = −0.43) but not for other MBTs. Although most meditation (n = 4 [80%]), cognitive-behavioral therapy (n = 4 [57%]), and hypnosis (n = 12 [63%]) studies found improved opioid-related outcomes, fewer studies of suggestion, guided imagery, and relaxation reported such improvements. Most MBT studies used active or placebo controls and were judged to be at low risk of bias.

Conclusions and Relevance

The findings suggest that MBTs are associated with moderate improvements in pain and small reductions in opioid dose and may be associated with therapeutic benefits for opioid-related problems, such as opioid craving and misuse. Future studies should carefully quantify opioid dosing variables to determine the association of mind-body therapies with opioid-related outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830441/Importance

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are emerging as potential tools for addressing the opioid crisis. Knowing whether mind-body therapies may benefit patients treated with opioids for acute, procedural, and chronic pain conditions may be useful for prescribers, payers, policy makers, and patients.

Change the Brain to Improve Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

Change the Brain to Improve Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“we should consider one’s level of mindfulness when calculating why and how one feels less or more pain.” – Fadel Zeidan

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. Pain experiences are processed in the nervous system. The nervous system changes in response to how it is used and how it is stimulated in a process called neuroplasticity. Highly used areas grow in size, metabolism, and connectivity. So, the nervous system changes in response to chronic pain. Mindfulness practices in general are known to produce neuroplastic changes in the structure and activity of the brain. So, it’s likely that mindfulness practices somehow alter the brain’s processing of pain.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Network Analysis of Induced Neural Plasticity Post-Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Pain.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823706/ ) Meier and colleagues recruited adult female patients who were diagnosed with chronic musculoskeletal pain. They were provided a 4-week group program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It met twice a week for 90 minutes. They were measured before and after ACT for pain intensity, pain interference, anxiety, depression, sleep, quality of life, and cognitive ability. ACT was previously found to improve these symptoms of chronic pain.

 

They also had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (f-MRI). The researchers examined the functional connectivity in 4 brain systems; the pain network, default mode network, frontoparietal network, and salience network. They found that after Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) there were significant reductions in functional connectivity within all four networks.

 

Previous work revealed that the chronic pain patients had very high levels of connectivity in these 4 networks. This hyperconnectivity was interpreted as a neuroplastic change in the brain produced by chronic pain. The present findings that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) reduces this connectivity suggest that ACT normalizes the connectivity in these networks, making it easier for the patients to cope with their pain. This, in turn, improves their mood and quality of life.

 

So, change the brain to improve chronic pain with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness meditation can be used as a tool to create more awareness of the sensation of pain itself, without the judgment or resistance, and the affective and cognitive evaluation that we often project upon it. When we impose a litany of negativity upon our pain, it only becomes worse, and potentially elicits other difficulties including depression and anxiety. When we become more aware of what we are actually experiencing, without the overlay of our judgment, the overall perception of pain is reduced.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

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

 

Meier, S. K., Ray, K. L., Waller, N. C., Gendron, B. C., Aytur, S. A., & Robin, D. A. (2020). Network Analysis of Induced Neural Plasticity Post-Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Pain. Brain sciences, 11(1), 10. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010010

 

Abstract

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a costly and prevalent condition that affects the lives of over 50 million individuals in the United States. Chronic pain leads to functional brain changes in those suffering from the condition. Not only does the primary pain network transform as the condition changes from acute to persistent pain, a state of hyper-connectivity also exists between the default mode, frontoparietal, and salience networks. Graph theory analysis has recently been used to investigate treatment-driven brain network changes. For example, current research suggests that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may reduce the chronic pain associated hyper-connectivity between the default mode, frontoparietal, and salience networks, as well as within the salience network. This study extended previous work by examining the associations between the three networks above and a meta-analytically derived pain network. Results indicate decreased connectivity within the pain network (including left putamen, right insula, left insula, and right thalamus) in addition to triple network connectivity changes after the four-week Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823706/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is a good resource for dealing with the physical and psychological symptoms of metastatic disease. Women who were more mindful tended to have lower symptoms of metastatic breast cancer, including pain severity and interference, fatigue, psychological distress, and sleep disturbance.” – Lauren Zimmaro

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a mindfulness training program that includes meditation practice, body scan, yoga, and discussion along with daily home practice. MBSR has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients in general and also specifically for the symptoms of breast cancer survivors. So, it makes sense to further explore the effectiveness of MBSR training for the treatment of breast cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Post-treatment Breast Cancer Patients: Immediate and Sustained Effects Across Multiple Symptom Clusters.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771358/ ) Reich and colleagues recruited breast cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to either usual care or to receive a 6-week, once a week for 2-hours, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) modified for breast cancer survivors. They were measured before and after training and 6 weeks later for worry, fear of cancer recurrence, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mindfulness, symptom severity, sleep quality, fatigue, pain, cognition, and health-related quality of life.

 

They found with factor analysis that the measures fit into 4 clusters; pain, cognition, fatigue, and psychological. They found that in comparison to baseline the usual care, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced significant improvement in the psychological and fatigue clusters, but not the cognitive or pain clusters. These effects were still present 6 weeks later.

 

These findings suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective treatment to relieve the psychological and fatigue symptoms of breast cancer survivors. This corresponds with prior findings that mindfulness improves the symptoms of breast cancer survivors and reduces anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, and improves emotional well-being and also reduces fatigue and improves sleep quality.

 

The observed improvements produced by Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) markedly improves the quality of life and reduces the suffering of these cancer patients. These are clinically significant. It has been shown that an improved psychological outlook is associated with better physical recovery. Hence, these findings suggest that MBSR or other mindfulness training programs, should be incorporated into the routine care of breast cancer survivors.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of breast cancer survivors with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is a state of mind which we can all acquire and use to support our wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally. . .  Having cancer, or specifically breast cancer, is no exception. Our cancer experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are.“ – Breast Cancer Now

 

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

 

Reich, R. R., Lengacher, C. A., Alinat, C. B., Kip, K. E., Paterson, C., Ramesar, S., Han, H. S., Ismail-Khan, R., Johnson-Mallard, V., Moscoso, M., Budhrani-Shani, P., Shivers, S., Cox, C. E., Goodman, M., & Park, J. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Post-treatment Breast Cancer Patients: Immediate and Sustained Effects Across Multiple Symptom Clusters. Journal of pain and symptom management, 53(1), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2016.08.005

 

Abstract

Context.

Breast cancer survivors (BCS) face adverse physical and psychological symptoms, often co-occurring. Biologic and psychological factors may link symptoms within clusters, distinguishable by prevalence and/or severity. Few studies have examined the effects of behavioral interventions or treatment of symptom clusters.

Objectives.

The aim of this study was to identify symptom clusters among post-treatment BCS and determine symptom cluster improvement following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Breast Cancer (MBSR(BC)) program.

Methods.

Three hundred twenty-two Stage 0–III post-treatment BCS were randomly assigned to either a six-week MBSR(BC) program or usual care. Psychological (depression, anxiety, stress, and fear of recurrence), physical (fatigue, pain, sleep, and drowsiness), and cognitive symptoms and quality of life were assessed at baseline, six, and 12 weeks, along with demographic and clinical history data at baseline. A three-step analytic process included the error-accounting models offactor analysis and structural equation modeling.

Results.

Four symptom clusters emerged at baseline: pain, psychological, fatigue, and cognitive. From baseline to six weeks, the model demonstrated evidence of MBSR(BC) effectiveness in both the psychological (anxiety, depression, perceived stress and QOL, emotional well-being) (P = 0.007) and fatigue (fatigue, sleep, and drowsiness) (P < 0.001) clusters. Results between six and 12 weeks showed sustained effects, but further improvement was not observed.

Conclusion.

Our results provide clinical effectiveness evidence that MBSR(BC) works to improve symptom clusters, particularly for psychological and fatigue symptom clusters, with the greatest improvement occurring during the six-week program with sustained effects for several weeks after MBSR(BC) training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771358/

 

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” – Havard Health

 

Mindful movement practices such as yoga and Tai Chi and Qigong have been used for centuries to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of practitioners. But only recently has the effects of these practices come under scientific scrutiny. This research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned about the effectiveness of these practice for rehabilitation from disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/ ) Phuphanich and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindful movement practices on rehabilitation from disease.

 

They report that published research has found that yoga practice reduces fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety and improves the immune system in cancer patients. Yoga has been found to be an effective treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yoga has been found to reduce pain levels, fear avoidance, stress, and sleep disturbance and increases self-efficacy and quality of life in chronic pain patients. Yoga has been found to improve the symptoms of traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and neuropathies. In addition, yoga has been found to improve systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, respiratory rate, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance in cardiopulmonary diseases.

 

They report that the published research has found that Tai Chi and Qigong practices reduce falls in the elderly. Tai Chi and Qigong has been found to reduce pain levels and increase quality of life in chronic pain patients. In addition, there is evidence that Tai Chi and Qigong practices improves depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and immune disorders.

 

These are remarkable findings. The range of disorders that are positively affected by yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong practices is breathtaking. These practices are also safe and can be widely implemented at relatively low cost and can be performed alone or in groups and at home or in a therapeutic setting. This suggests that these practices should be routinely implemented for rehabilitation from disease.

 

So,  movement-based therapies are affective for rehabilitation from disease.

 

Being mindful through any physical activity can not only improve performance in the activity such as yoga, tennis, swimming, etc, but it can also increase flexibility, confidence in movement and generate a sense of body and mind connection that has the potential for improving your overall sense of well-being.“- Anupama Kommu

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Phuphanich, M. E., Droessler, J., Altman, L., & Eapen, B. C. (2020). Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America, 31(4), 577–591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmr.2020.07.002

 

Abstract

Movement therapy refers to a broad range of Eastern and Western mindful movement-based practices used to treat the mind, body, and spirit concurrently. Forms of movement practice are universal across human culture and exist in ancient history. Research demonstrates forms of movement therapy, such as dance, existed in the common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees, approximately 6 million years ago. Movement-based therapies innately promote health and wellness by encouraging proactive participation in one’s own health, creating community support and accountability, and so building a foundation for successful, permanent, positive change.

Key Points – Movement-based therapies

  • Decrease fear avoidance and empower individuals to take a proactive role in their own health and wellness.
  • Can benefit patients of any ability; practices are customizable to the individual’s needs and health.
  • Are safe, cost-effective, and potent adjunct treatments used to supplement (not replace) standard care.
  • Deliver patient-centered, integrative care that accounts for the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of health and illness.
  • Have diverse, evidence-based benefits, including reduction in pain, stress, and debility, and improvements in range of motion, strength, balance, coordination, cardiovascular health, physical fitness, mood, and cognition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/

 

Yoga Practice Improves the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

Yoga Practice Improves the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“regular yoga poses and stretches can help ease those restless legs syndrome symptoms and help you sleep better, feel less stressed, and even lower blood pressure.” – Everyday Health

 

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is characterized by an urge to move the legs after rest. This occurs particularly at night but also after extended sitting such as in a car, airplane, or movie theatre. It produces unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet including crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching, itching, and electric sensations. It can involve twitching and kicking, possibly throughout the night, while you sleep. It is estimated that about 7% of the population experiences restless legs syndrome.

 

There is no known cause or cures for restless leg syndrome. The only treatments that seem to help are movements such as stretching, jiggling the legs, walking, or pacing. Yoga is a mindfulness practice and an exercise that involves stretching and movement. Hence, it would make sense to explore the ability of yoga practice to improve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a 12-week yoga versus a 12-week educational film intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome and related outcomes: an exploratory randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053002/ ) Innes and colleagues recruited adult patients with restless legs syndrome and randomly assigned them to receive a 12-week program of either yoga training or to watch educational films on restless legs syndrome. Yoga training occurred for 75 minutes, 2 times per week for 4 weeks and then once a week for four more weeks. Participants were asked to practice at home for 30 minutes daily. The education class met once a week. The participants were measured before and after training for frequency, intensity, and impact of restless legs syndrome symptoms, sleep quality, health-related quality of life, mood, perceived stress, blood pressure, heart rate, social support, and physical activity.

 

They found that both the yoga and education groups had significant improvements in restless legs syndrome symptoms, and most secondary outcomes. The yoga group, however, had significantly greater reductions in restless legs syndrome symptoms, perceived stress, sleep quality, and mood. Additionally, the more yoga sessions attended and the greater the amount of home practice the greater the improvement in restless legs syndrome symptoms. This was not true for the education group.

 

The results suggest that yoga practice produced symptom relief for restless legs syndrome patients to a significantly greater extent than education about restless legs syndrome. Yoga provides exercise and stretching and it is not clear whether the benefits for restless legs syndrome are a result of the exercise or are specific to yoga practice. Future research should compare the effective of yoga practice relative to other exercises for restless legs syndrome. Regardless, it is clear from this study that practicing yoga is a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive treatment for restless legs syndrome. It should be routinely recommended to relieve the suffering of these patients.

 

So, yoga practice improves the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

 

When restless legs syndrome keeps you up all night, yoga is a treatment option that helps both your mind and body relax.” – Diana Rodriguez

 

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

 

Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Montgomery, C., Hollingshead, N., Huysmans, Z., Srinivasan, R., Wen, S., Hausmann, M. J., Sherman, K., & Klatt, M. (2020). Effects of a 12-week yoga versus a 12-week educational film intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome and related outcomes: an exploratory randomized controlled trial. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 16(1), 107–119. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8134

 

Abstract

Study Objectives:

To assess the effects of a yoga versus educational film (EF) program on restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms and related outcomes in adults with RLS.

Methods:

Forty-one community-dwelling, ambulatory nonpregnant adults with moderate to severe RLS were randomized to a 12-week yoga (n = 19) or EF program (n = 22). In addition to attending classes, all participants completed practice/treatment logs. Yoga group participants were asked to practice at home 30 minutes per day on nonclass days; EF participants were instructed to record any RLS treatments used on their daily logs. Core outcomes assessed pretreatment and posttreatment were RLS symptoms and symptom severity (International RLS Study Group Scale (IRLS) and RLS ordinal scale), sleep quality, mood, perceived stress, and quality of life (QOL).

Results:

Thirty adults (13 yoga, 17 EF), aged 24 to 73 (mean = 50.4 ± 2.4 years), completed the 12-week study (78% female, 80.5% white). Post-intervention, both groups showed significant improvement in RLS symptoms and severity, perceived stress, mood, and QOL-mental health (P ≤ .04). Relative to the EF group, yoga participants demonstrated significantly greater reductions in RLS symptoms and symptom severity (P ≤ .01), and greater improvements in perceived stress and mood (P ≤ .04), as well as sleep quality (P = .09); RLS symptoms decreased to minimal/mild in 77% of yoga group participants, with none scoring in the severe range by week 12, versus 24% and 12%, respectively, in EF participants. In the yoga group, IRLS and RLS severity scores declined with increasing minutes of homework practice (r = .7, P = .009 and r = .6, P = .03, respectively), suggesting a possible dose-response relationship.

Conclusions:

Findings of this exploratory RCT suggest that yoga may be effective in reducing RLS symptoms and symptom severity, decreasing perceived stress, and improving mood and sleep in adults with RLS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053002/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Medication Adherence in Older Adults

Mindfulness is Associated with Medication Adherence in Older Adults

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Keep a watch…on the faults of the patients, which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed. For through not taking disagreeable drinks, purgative or other, they sometimes die.” – Hippocrates, Decorum

 

“Integrating mindfulness into our practices may help foster the therapeutic alliance and ultimately medication adherence.” – Michael Ascher

 

In order for prescriptive medications to be effective in treating disease they must be taken. But about 50% of older patients do not take their medications as prescribed and many do not even fill their prescriptions. This is a shockingly high degree of non-compliance that can lead to poorer health and potentially death. Indeed, it has been stated that “increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments” (R. Brian Haynes). Mindfulness, on the other hand has been shown to be associated with better compliance with therapy and greater health related behaviors. So, it makes sense to study the role of mindfulness in medication adherence in older individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Selected psychological predictors of medication adherence in the older adults with chronic diseases.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7729554/ ) Gruszczyńska and colleagues recruited older adults, over 60 year of age, who were diagnosed with a chronic disease. They completed measures of medication adherence, health locus of control, stress coping, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of medication adherence, the higher the levels of internal locus of control, influence of others locus of control, and mindfulness and the lower the levels of emotion-oriented coping and distraction seeking. Regression analysis revealed that the strongest positive predictors of medication adherence were influence of others locus of control, and mindfulness while the most powerful negative predictor was emotion-oriented coping.

 

It should be recognized that this study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But these results make sense as ascribing the control of one’s health to other powerful people would suggest that the individual would be more likely to follow the direction of a physician and comply with the medicinal directions. That people who cope with stress emotionally would not adhere to medicinal directions also make sense as the invocation of strong emotions associated with the stress of the disease would be aversive and lead to avoidding or ignoring medicines associated with the source of stress.

 

Finally, mindfulness was found to be influential on medication adherence. Being more aware of and attentive to the needs of the body should lead to tending to those needs and taking prescribed medications to help. Indeed, mindfulness tends to promote health related behaviors in general. In other words, mindful people tend to do things that are beneficial for their health including taking prescribed medications as directed.

 

Since elderly people taking prescribed medications is one of the single most important contributors to their overall health and longevity, improving adherence is extremely important. Perhaps if training in mindfulness was prescribed along with medications, medication adherence may be improved leading to better health outcomes.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with medication adherence in older adults.

 

“Mindfulness interventions have been proven effective on several predictors of poor adherence (i.e., sleep, cognitive impairment, depression, and stress) and thus hold great potential to improve medication adherence.“ – Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher

 

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

 

Gruszczyńska, M., Wyszomirska, J., Daniel-Sielańczyk, A., & Bąk-Sosnowska, M. (2020). Selected psychological predictors of medication adherence in the older adults with chronic diseases. Nursing open, 8(1), 317–326. https://doi.org/10.1002/nop2.632

 

Abstract

Aim

The main goal of the study was to assess the significance of selected psychological factors related to the adherence to medication recommendations among the older adults with chronic diseases.

Design

It was designed as a cross‐sectional study, aimed at assessing the importance of selected psychological factors in complying with medication recommendations among older adults.

Methods

The study involved 345 older adults with chronic diseases, assessed the importance of selected psychological factors, such as: health locus of control, stress coping and mindfulness in adhering to medication recommendations older persons. To answer the research questions, we performed frequency analyses, basic descriptive statistics analyses together with the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, Student’s t tests for independent samples, monofactorial analysis of variance in the intergroup diagram, analysis correlation with the Pearson correlation coefficient, Spearman’s rank correlation ρ analysis and stepwise linear regression analysis.

Results

The study identified psychological predictors of medication adherence, which explained 12% of the variability. An emotion‐oriented coping proved to be the most important factor. Additionally, powerful other health locus of control and mindful attention were shown to have a positive effect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7729554/