Mindfulness Makes Teachers Better Teachers

Mindfulness Makes Teachers Better Teachers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Most teacher training focuses primarily on content and pedagogy, overlooking the very real social, emotional, and cognitive demands of teaching itself. Luckily, learning and cultivating skills of mindfulness. . . can help us to promote the calm, relaxed, but enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn.” – Patricia Jennings

 

In a school setting, mindfulness not only affects teachers, but also the students. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in schools. But the effects of mindfulness on elementary school teachers and their students need further exploration. Are mindful elementary school teachers better teachers?

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Teachers: a Study on Teacher and Student Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8060685/ ) de Carvalho and colleagues recruited primary school teachers and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control or to receive 30 hours of mindfulness training delivered over 10 weeks. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, emotion regulation, self-compassion, self-efficacy, mental health, and burnout. They were also observed in the classroom and rated for “flexibility and ability to adapt to classroom situations, cooperation among students, and group cohesion.” They also recruited parents and students of the teachers. The students measured teacher involvement with students, and the students’ positive and negative emotions, mental health, and emotion control. Finally, the parents rated their child’s social behavior.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, after mindfulness training there were significant improvements in all teacher measurements including the classroom observation measurements. The students of the mindfulness trained teachers rated the teachers as having higher involvement with students and the students of these teachers also had better emotion regulation, higher positive emotions, lower negative emotions, higher well-being and parental ratings of social behavior.

 

It should be noted that the control teachers received no treatment whatsoever. This passive type of control does not allow for the conclusion that it was mindfulness training per se that was responsible for the improvements. Rather any kind of attention to the teachers might result in similar improvements. The study should be replicated comparing teacher mindfulness training to an active control condition such as teacher fitness training.

 

The findings for the teachers replicate previous findings that mindfulness training increases mindfulness, emotion regulation, self-compassion, self-efficacy, mental health, and reduces burnout. The results also demonstrate that teacher mindfulness training makes them more attentive to the needs of their students which improves the students’ emotional well-being and their interactions with others.

 

These findings are remarkable in that they demonstrate how teaching mindfulness to teachers affects the entire classroom system, altering the teachers’ behavior which in turn affects the students’ behavior and well-being. This further suggests that training elementary school teachers in mindfulness will improve the school experience for both the teachers and their students. This could lower teacher burnout while improving the emotional and social development of the children.

 

So, mindfulness makes teachers better teachers.

 

We see mental health benefits. We see some behavioral benefits. Youth are more likely not to engage in conflict — more likely to walk away from contentious discussions. They express greater acceptance of themselves.” – Erica Sibinga

 

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

 

de Carvalho, J. S., Oliveira, S., Roberto, M. S., Gonçalves, C., Bárbara, J. M., de Castro, A. F., Pereira, R., Franco, M., Cadima, J., Leal, T., Lemos, M. S., & Marques-Pinto, A. (2021). Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Teachers: a Study on Teacher and Student Outcomes. Mindfulness, 1–14. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01635-3

 

Abstract

Objectives

Teachers’ stress can affect their occupational health and negatively impact classroom climate and students’ well-being. This study aims to evaluate the proximal and distal effects of a mindfulness-based program, specially developed to promote teachers’ social-emotional competencies (SEC), across teachers, classroom climates, and students’ outcomes.

Methods

The study followed a randomized trial design with two data collection points (pretest and posttest). Participants in the experimental group (EG) included 123 elementary school teachers, their 1503 students, and these students’ parents (1494), while the control group (CG) comprised 105 elementary school teachers, their 947 students, and these students’ parents (913). A mixed data collection strategy was used that included teachers’ and students’ (self-) report, observational ratings of teachers’ classroom behaviors, and parents’ reports on students.

Results

After the intervention, EG teachers, compared to CG teachers, reported a significant increase in mindfulness and emotional regulation competencies, self-efficacy, and well-being and a decrease in burnout symptoms. Similarly, a significant improvement was found in EG teachers’ classroom behaviors related to students’ engagement. Additionally, significant improvements were also found in EG students’ perceptions of the quality of their teachers’ involvement in classroom relationships, self-reported effect, and social competencies perceived by their parents.

Conclusions

These findings further the knowledge on the role played by mindfulness-based SEC interventions in reducing teachers’ burnout symptoms and cultivating their SEC and well-being, in promoting a nurturing classroom climate and also in promoting the SEC and well-being of students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8060685/

 

Change the Experience of Music with Mindfulness

Change the Experience of Music with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Music and meditation both allow a fuller and richer experience of our emotions: They stop our incessant and often negative mental chatter and offer us an opportunity to inhabit the present moment more fully and meaningfully.” –  Darin McFadyen

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. This is a very important consequence of mindfulness. Humans are very emotional creatures and these emotions can be very pleasant, providing the spice of life. But when they get extreme, they can produce misery and even mental illness.

 

Music also evokes emotions. These appear to be somewhat different from those evoked in everyday life and so they are given a different term “aesthetic emotions”. These are one of the reasons that music is so universally popular. Mindfulness has been shown to improve the appreciation of music. It is not known, however, is mindfulness changes the emotional appreciation of music; aesthetic emotions.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Musical Aesthetic Emotion Processing.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648062/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1689544_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210727_arts_A ) Liu and colleagues recruited college students who did not have any musical training or mindfulness meditation training. They were measured for mindfulness and positive and negative emotions and randomly assigned to either no further training or to receive a 10-minute mindfulness meditation training. After the training they listened to “15 music clips (duration 1 min) from the Chinese classical folk instrumental musical works” in a randomized order. Five of which were happy, 5 sad, and 5 calm. After each clip the students completed Likert scales of the recognition, experience, tension, beauty, and liking of the clips and the emotions experienced by the students when listening to the clips.

 

They found that in comparison to the control group, the group that received brief mindfulness meditation training were significantly less accurate in identifying the emotion portrayed in the clips, experienced significantly less emotion in themselves while listening to the clips, experienced reduced body awareness, and experienced a faster passage of time while listening to the music. The mindfulness training group also found the clips significantly more beautiful than the control group.

 

The brief mindfulness meditation reduced the recognition of the emotion of the music and the magnitude of the emotional responses to it. This is likely due to the ability of mindfulness to improve emotion regulation, allowing them to experience the emotion but not overly respond to it. Mindfulness also increased the experience of the beauty of the music, perhaps as a result to mindfulness increasing their attention to the music itself. The faster musical time perception experienced and lower body awareness by the mindfulness group may also be due to the increased attention to the music.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that mindfulness influences the effect of music on the listener, reducing emotional intensity, body awareness and time perception while listening, but increasing the perceived beauty of the music. Mindfulness appears to alter the aesthetic emotional appreciation of the music.

 

So, change the experience of music with mindfulness.

 

Combining music with meditation can deepen the positive effects of both, and bring you greater stress relief.” – Elizabeth Scott

 

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

 

Liu X, Liu Y, Shi H and Zheng M (2021) Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Musical Aesthetic Emotion Processing. Front. Psychol. 12:648062. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648062

 

Mindfulness meditation is a form of self-regulatory training for the mind and the body. The relationship between mindfulness meditation and musical aesthetic emotion processing (MAEP) remains unclear. This study aimed to explore the effect of temporary mindfulness meditation on MAEP while listening to Chinese classical folk instrumental musical works. A 2 [(groups: mindfulness meditation group (MMG); control group (CG)] × 3 (music emotions: calm music, happy music, and sad music) mixed experimental design and a convenience sample of university students were used to verify our hypotheses, which were based on the premise that temporary mindfulness meditation may affect MAEP (MMG vs. CG). Sixty-seven non-musically trained participants (65.7% female, age range: 18–22 years) were randomly assigned to two groups (MMG or CG). Participants in MMG were given a single 10-min recorded mindfulness meditation training before and when listening to music. The instruments for psychological measurement comprised of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Self-report results showed no significant between-group differences for PANAS and for the scores of four subscales of the FFMQ (p > 0.05 throughout), except for the non-judging of inner experience subscale. Results showed that temporary mindfulness meditation training decreased the negative emotional experiences of happy and sad music and the positive emotional experiences of calm music during recognition and experience and promoted beautiful musical experiences in individuals with no musical training. Maintaining a state of mindfulness while listening to music enhanced body awareness and led to experiencing a faster passage of musical time. In addition, it was found that Chinese classical folk instrumental musical works effectively induced aesthetic emotion and produced multidimensional aesthetic experiences among non-musically trained adults. This study provides new insights into the relationship between mindfulness and music emotion.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648062/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1689544_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210727_arts_A

 

Improve Psychological Health with Extended Confinement with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Health with Extended Confinement with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“During a long-term professional containment, as implied by a long-term submarine patrol, mindful disposition appears as a protective functioning to efficiently manage with the constraints due to the confinement.” – Barbara Lefranc

 

Confinement for extended periods of time can have very detrimental effects on the psychological well-being of individuals. Solitary confinement is thought of as extreme punishment due to its negative psychological impact. But even when prolonged confinement is social, as in submarine deployment, it also has psychological consequences including problematic moods and decreases in cognitive ability. Mindfulness has been shown to improve cognition and mood even in confinement as occurs in prisons. So, it would be expected that mindfulness would be related to an individual’s ability to cope with the stresses of the prolonged confinement characteristic of life on deployed submarines.

 

In today’s Research News article “Subsurface Confinement: Evidence from Submariners of the Benefits of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267514/ ) Aufauvre-Poupon and colleagues recruited male submariners and had them complete measures of mindfulness, psychological functioning, interoception, sleep, food and appetite, and physical activity before during and after a deployment of at least 60 days. They then separated the participants based on factor analysis into a mindful and non-mindful group.

 

They report that as the patrol progressed the participants had significant decreases in positive experiences, sleep, and interoception and significant increases in negative experiences and emotions. In comparison to the non-mindful group, the mindfulness group had significantly greater positive experiences and interoception and significantly lower negative experiences and emotions during the deployment.

 

These results suggest not surprisingly that during a deployment in a confined space interoceptive ability and psychological health deteriorates. It should be noted that mindfulness was not manipulated. Rather those participants who were already mindful were compared to those who were not. Hence, the two groups were composed of different individuals who likely differed in many ways other than mindfulness and these differences may account for the results. Nevertheless, the mindful group had significantly less deterioration during the deployment.

 

A deployment in a confined space is very stressful and this could produce the deterioration in psychological well-being. Mindfulness though may be an antidote. It is known to improve the individual’s psychological and physical responses to stress. It is possible, then, that mindful submariners are better able to cope with the stress and thereby have smaller deceases in psychological health during the extended confinement of the deployment. This improved ability to cope with confinement may account for the ability of mindfulness to improve psychological health during confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

So, improve psychological health with extended confinement with mindfulness.

 

On many journeys, the hours are long and the days blend together. Nonetheless, these seafaring professionals have systems in place that allow them to be productive, keep their sanity, and even enjoy themselves.” – Kelly Chase

 

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

 

Aufauvre-Poupon, C., Martin-Krumm, C., Duffaud, A., Lafontaine, A., Gibert, L., Roynard, F., Rouquet, C., Bouillon-Minois, J. B., Dutheil, F., Canini, F., Pontis, J., Leclerq, F., Vannier, A., & Trousselard, M. (2021). Subsurface Confinement: Evidence from Submariners of the Benefits of Mindfulness. Mindfulness, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01677-7

 

Abstract

Objectives

The subsurface ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN) is an extreme professional environment in which personnel are both isolated and confined during patrols, which can last longer than 2 months. This environment is known to degrade submariners’ mood and cognition.

Methods

This exploratory, empirical study followed a cohort of 24 volunteer submariners. Dispositional mindfulness was assessed with the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, in order to identify two groups (mindful and non-mindful) and compare change in emotional state, interoception, and health behaviors during the patrol.

Results

Overall, psychological health deteriorated during the patrol. However, mindful submariners demonstrated better psychological adaptation and interoception than the non-mindful group. This was associated with better subjective health behaviors (sleeping and eating).

Conclusions

Dispositional mindfulness appears to protect against the negative effects of long-term containment in a professional environment, such as a submarine patrol. Our work highlights that mindfulness may help individuals to cope with stress in such situations. Developing mindfulness could also be an important preventive healthcare measure during quarantine imposed by the outbreak of a serious infectious disease.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267514/

 

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness [has been linked] to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. Skills in these areas teach students not only how to recognize their thoughts, emotions, and actions, but also how to react to them in positive ways.” – Waterford.org

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. But there have been few studies comparing the effects of mindfulness training to other types of training for elementary schoolchildren.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A ) Milaré and colleagues recruited 2 classrooms of children 8-9 years of age. One class received an 8-week mindfulness training that met twice a week for 30 minutes. The instructions were on awareness, generosity, and heartfulness. The other class received 8 weeks of story reading that met twice a week for 15 minutes. The stories were targeted to moral and emotional issues appropriate for children. They were measured before and after training for stress, anxiety, depression, positive and negative emotions, and executive functions including attention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in executive functions including attention, processing speed, and controlled attention. On the other hand, the story reading but not mindfulness group had decreases in depression and negative emotions.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition, so improvements from baseline might have been due to a number of confounding factors including practice effects, expectancy effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, there wasn’t random assignment of the children to condition. But in adults it is well established that mindfulness training produces improvements in executive functions including attention. This is not surprising as mindfulness training involves focusing attention which is important for cognitive performance. The present study suggests that these benefits also accrue to 8-9 year-old children. Improving cognitive skills particularly attention in children is important and may well lead to improved academic performance.

 

It is interesting that targeted story reading produced similar cognitive benefits and also some emotional improvements. This may be due to the fact that the stories included emotional issues pertinent to children while the mindfulness training did not include mindfulness of emotions. This suggests that the mindfulness program could be improved by including paying attention to emotions.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in elementary school children with mindfulness.

 

Students . . . have been spending anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes per day on mindfulness exercises. But classes appear to be gaining more instruction time as a result because there are fewer outbursts and disruptions.” – Emily DeRuy

 

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

 

Milaré CAR, Kozasa EH, Lacerda S, Barrichello C, Tobo PR and Horta ALD (2021) Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health. Front. Psychol. 12:576311. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311

 

Introduction: In this study we compared the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with a story reading intervention (SI) on the executive functions and psychological profile of children in two different public schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods: In this controlled clinical trial, 207 children aged 8 to 9 years old responded to the Five-Digit Test (FDT), stress levels, depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, at baseline (T0) and 8 weeks later (T1). From T0 to T1, school 1 participated in MBI classes and school 2 in IS classes.

Results: In school 1 (MBI), children improved their scores on all tests except reading (errors) and counting (errors) compared with school 2. No differences were observed between groups in terms of emotional health.

Conclusion: It is feasible to implement MBI or SI in Brazilian public schools. Students in the MBI group presented broader effects in executive functions, while students in the SI group showed a trend toward reduced negative affect and depression symptoms.

Highlights

This study contributes to the scientific evidence of the positive effects of Mindfulness and Story reading on executive functions and emotional well-being in children. Neither intervention had significant effects on depression, anxiety, stress, positive, and negative affect (although Story reading showed a trend in reducing negative affect and depression), while the Mindfulness-Based Intervention had relatively broader effects on executive functions.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A

 

Improve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Improve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“MBCT encourages individuals with [Major Depressive Disorder] to become more aware of their internal events (ie, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations) and to change the ways in which they relate to these thoughts. For example, individuals are encouraged to view their thoughts as passing events in the mind, rather than treat them as reality. Disengaging from automatic negative cognitive patterns, such as rumination, reduces the future risk of relapse.” – Meagan MacKenzie

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs. The research has been accumulating. So, it is reasonable to take an overall look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/ ) MacKenzie and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression.

 

They report that the published research studies demonstrate that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) produces significant decreases in current depression in patients with major depressive disorder and also significantly reduces the reoccurrence of depression in patients in remission. the research also found that MBCT produces these improvements in depression by increasing mindfulness, positive emotions and self-compassion and reducing rumination, negative emotions, and cognitive and emotional reactivity.

 

Hence, the published research has built a compelling case that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a safe and effective treatment for depression and its reoccurrence. It does so by altering a number of intermediaries that directly effect depression. MBCT should be recommended as a front-line treatment.

 

So, improve depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

meta-analyses have demonstrated the efficacy of MBCT for reducing depression symptoms in patients with current depression . . . MBCT has been shown to perform as well as other comparable evidence-based treatments.” – Alice Tickell

 

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

 

MacKenzie, M. B., Abbott, K. A., & Kocovski, N. L. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 14, 1599–1605. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S160761

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to prevent relapse in individuals with depressive disorders. This widely used intervention has garnered considerable attention and a comprehensive review of current trends is warranted. As such, this review provides an overview of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and concludes with a discussion of dissemination. Results provided strong support for the efficacy of MBCT despite some methodological shortcomings in the reviewed literature. With respect to mechanisms of action, specific elements, such as mindfulness, repetitive negative thinking, self-compassion and affect, and cognitive reactivity have emerged as important mechanisms of change. Finally, despite a lack of widespread MBCT availability outside urban areas, research has shown that self-help variations are promising. Combined with findings that teacher competence may not be a significant predictor of treatment outcome, there are important implications for dissemination. Taken together, this review shows that while MBCT is an effective treatment for depression, continued research in the areas of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and dissemination are recommended.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/

 

Yoga and Other Exercises Improve Body Image and Psychological Well-Being

Yoga and Other Exercises Improve Body Image and Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Overall, practicing yoga can have a profound impact on improving body image, but it depends how it is approached by the individual. When you treat yoga as a tool for body appreciation, healthy movement, and inner reflection, it helps improve body image and mental health.” – Tara Caguait

 

The media is constantly presenting idealized images of what we should look like. These are unrealistic and unattainable for the vast majority of people. But it results in most everyone being unhappy with their body.  This can lead to problematic consequences. In a number of eating disorders there’s a distorted body image. This can and does drive unhealthy behaviors. As a treatment mindfulness has been shown to improve eating disorders.

 

In the media, yoga is portrayed as practiced by lithe beautiful people. This is, of course, unrealistic and potentially harmful. But yoga is also an exercise that tends to improve the body and it has been shown to improve body image and psychological health. It is unclear whether it is the exercise provided by yoga practice that promotes psychological health and a healthy body image or to components specific to yoga practice.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga, Dance, Team Sports, or Individual Sports: Does the Type of Exercise Matter? An Online Study Investigating the Relationships Between Different Types of Exercise, Body Image, and Well-Being in Regular Exercise Practitioners.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.621272/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A )  Marshin and colleagues recruited adults online and had them complete measures of amount and type of exercise, body size, body image, body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, physical efficacy, physical activity, positive and negative emotions, and depression.

 

They found that the participants who engaged in regular exercise had significantly lower body dissatisfaction, perceived body weight, and depression and significantly higher positive emotions than sedentary individuals. They also found that there were no significant differences in any of the outcome variables for regular exercise practitioners of yoga, ballroom dance, team sports, or individual sports.

 

These findings are correlational, so no conclusions can be reached regarding causation. But it is clear that people who exercise have a better image of their bodies and better mental health than sedentary individuals. The fact that there were no significant differences between practitioners of different types of exercise including yoga suggests that exercise of any type is associated with greater satisfaction with the body and better mood. Yoga practice has been shown to improve body image and positive emotions and lower depression. The present findings suggest that these benefits of yoga practice are due to the exercise and not to the other components of yoga practice.

 

So, yoga and other exercises improve body image and psychological well-being.

 

Individuals who are dissatisfied with their body image are at a higher risk for eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. When diversity and inclusivity are encouraged, yoga may have an important role to play in supporting healthy feelings toward body image.” – Lacey Gibson

 

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

 

Marschin V and Herbert C (2021) Yoga, Dance, Team Sports, or Individual Sports: Does the Type of Exercise Matter? An Online Study Investigating the Relationships Between Different Types of Exercise, Body Image, and Well-Being in Regular Exercise Practitioners. Front. Psychol. 12:621272. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.621272

 

Physical activity, specifically exercising, has been suggested to improve body image, mental health, and well-being. With respect to body image, previous findings highlight a general benefit of exercise. This study investigates whether the relationship between exercising and body image varies with the type of exercise that individuals preferentially and regularly engage in. In addition, physical efficacy was explored as a potential psychological mediator between type of exercise and body image. Using a cross-sectional design, healthy regular exercise practitioners of yoga, ballroom dance, team sports, or individual sports as well as healthy adults reporting no regular exercising were surveyed. Body image and its different facets were assessed by a set of standardized self-report questionnaires, covering perceptual, cognitive, and affective body image dimensions particularly related to negative body image. In addition, participants were questioned with regard to mental health. Participants were 270 healthy adults. Descriptive statistics, measures of variance (ANOVA), and multiple linear regression analysis with orthogonal contrasts were performed to investigate differences between the different exercise and non-exercise groups in the variables of interest. In line with the hypotheses and previous findings, the statistic comparisons revealed that body dissatisfaction (as one important factor of negative body image) was most pronounced in the non-exercise group compared to all exercise groups [contrast: no exercise versus exercise (all groups taken together)]. Physical efficacy, as assessed with a standardized questionnaire, mediated the difference between type of exercise (using contrasts) and body image including perceptual, cognitive, and affective body image dimensions. The findings shed light on so far less systematically investigated questions regarding the relationship between types of exercise, like yoga and ballroom dance, and body image. The results underscore the relevance of considering possible influencing factors in exercise research, such as the perception of one’s physical efficacy as a mediator of this relationship.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.621272/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Improve Attention, Memory, and Emotions with Meditation

Improve Attention, Memory, and Emotions with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

meditating can change the structure and function of the brain through relaxation, which can: Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, Increase focus and learning concentration, Improve memory and attention span, Build stronger immune system and greater physical/psychological resilience, Allow better sleep” – Columbia University

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Mindfulness also decreases the individual’s tendency to use tried and true solutions to problems and thereby improves cognitive flexibility. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve attention, memory, and emotions. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.There are, however, a large variety of meditation techniques and it is not known which types are best for which benefit.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Combining Meditation Techniques on Short-Term Memory, Attention, and Affect in Healthy College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A )  Pragya and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to one of three meditation groups or to a no-treatment control group. Meditation occurred in 3 25-minute sessions per week for 8 weeks and was either a sound meditation (Bee sound), color imagery (green) or the combination of the two. They were measured before and after training for short-term memory and positive and negative emotions. They also completed a continuous performance test to measure selective attention, sustained attention, and impulsivity.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group the combined meditation groups had significantly greater short-term memory and positive emotions and significantly lower negative emotions, inattention, and impulsivity. The two types of meditation techniques and their combination had somewhat different magnitudes of effects. Sound meditation had greater improvements of attention and reductions in negative emotions, while the color focused meditation group had greater attentiveness and short-term memory. The combined color and sound meditation group had the greatest improvements.

 

These results demonstrate as has been previously reported that mindfulness practices produce greater short-term memory and positive emotions and significantly lower negative emotions, inattention, and impulsivity. The contribution of the present study is to demonstrate that different meditation techniques produce similar effects but differ in the magnitudes of those effects. This could help to determine which techniques work best for people with different weaknesses. Regardless, meditation appear to improve cognitive and emotional well-being.

 

So, improve attention, memory, and emotions with meditation.

 

A critical part of attention (and working memory capacity) is being able to ignore distraction. There has been growing evidence that meditation training (in particular mindfulness meditation) helps develop attentional control, and that this can start to happen very quickly.” – About memory

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

 

Pragya SU, Mehta ND, Abomoelak B, Uddin P, Veeramachaneni P, Mehta N, Moore S, Jean-Francois M, Garcia S, Pragya SC and Mehta DI (2021) Effects of Combining Meditation Techniques on Short-Term Memory, Attention, and Affect in Healthy College Students. Front. Psychol. 12:607573. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573

 

Meditation refers to a family of self-regulation practices that focuses on training attention and awareness to foster psycho-emotional well-being and to develop specific capacities such as calmness, clarity, and concentration. We report a prospective convenience-controlled study in which we analyzed the effect of two components of Preksha Dhyāna – buzzing bee sound meditation (Mahapran dhvani) and color meditation (leśyā dhyāna) on healthy college students. Mahapran and leśya dhyāna are two Preksha Dhyāna practices that are based on sound and green color, respectively. The study population represents a suitable target as college students experience different stress factors during the school year. This study measures the individual and combined effects of two techniques (one focusing on sound and one focusing on color), on short-term memory, attention, and affect, in novice meditators. We used a battery of cognitive, performance, and compared results with baseline and control values. We found improved cognition, especially attention, short-term memory, and affect in terms of positivity and reduced negativity. Overall, the two techniques produced variable benefits and subjects showed improved scores over baseline for short-term memory, cognitive function, and overall wellbeing. Further studies are required to understand underlying mechanisms for the observed differences between the two techniques and to elucidate mechanisms underlying the more pronounced and global benefits observed with the combined techniques. These results underscore a need to examine individual components of meditation practices in order to individualize treatment approaches for attention disorders in young adults.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.607573/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Improved Mood and Lower Interpersonal Sensitivity

Mindfulness is Associated with Improved Mood and Lower Interpersonal Sensitivity

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness training may help reduce interpersonal sensitivity in college students. When college students have strong effectiveness/authenticity, lower negative emotions may be a protective factor to prevent interpersonal sensitivity.” – Xiaoqian Ding

 

Humans are social animals. This is a great asset for the species as the effort of the individual is amplified by cooperation. In primitive times, this cooperation was essential for survival. But in modern times it is also essential, not for survival but rather for making a living and for the happiness of the individual. Mindfulness has been found to increase prosocial emotions such as compassion, and empathy and prosocial behaviors such as altruism. So, being mindful socially is very important.

 

The importance of social interactions, however, can increase a person’s interpersonal sensitivity. This is associated with low self-esteem and a poor self-concept. At extremes, this can result in social anxiety disorders. Mindfulness training has been shown to help with the treatment of social anxiety disorders and to improve self-esteem. So, mindfulness may be effective in reducing interpersonal sensitivity. But there is little research on mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Interpersonal Sensitivity for Chinese College Students: The Mediating Role of Negative Emotions and Moderating Role of Effectiveness/Authenticity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.624340/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A )  Ding and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete measures of mindfulness, mood states, mental health symptoms, interpersonal sensitivity, emotional effectiveness/authenticity, emotional novelty, and emotional preparedness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of emotional effectiveness/authenticity and emotional preparedness and the lower the levels of negative emotions and interpersonal sensitivity. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness was negatively associated with interpersonal sensitivity directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower negative emotions which in turn was associated with lower interpersonal sensitivity. Finally, they found that the mindfulness’ association with lower negative emotions and in turn lower interpersonal sensitivity was stronger when the participants were also high in emotional effectiveness/authenticity.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. In prior research, however, mindfulness training has been shown to decrease negative emotions. So, the observed relationship is likely due to a causal relationship between mindfulness and lower negative emotions. In addition, mindfulness has been shown to improve self-esteem and the self-concept. Hence, mindfulness improves mood and lowers emotional sensitivity.

 

Interpersonal sensitivity is a problem for everyone and especially college students. It suggests that the individual doesn’t think much of themselves and looks at themselves as a problem. This can produce maladaptive behaviors on the part of the individual compounding the problem. Negative emotions feed into this negative self-concept. But this can be disrupted by mindfulness which not only improves the self-concept, reducing interpersonal sensitivity, but also improves emotions that also lower this sensitivity. This all suggests that mindfulness training may be recommended for college students to improve their psychological health.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with improved mood and lower interpersonal sensitivity.

 

Mindfulness meditation could provide a healthy method of coping with interpersonal stress for college students and offer a valuable addition to traditional relaxation and imagery techniques.” – Lily Preer

 

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

 

Ding X, Zhao T, Li X, Yang Z and Tang Y-Y (2021) Exploring the Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Interpersonal Sensitivity for Chinese College Students: The Mediating Role of Negative Emotions and Moderating Role of Effectiveness/Authenticity. Front. Psychol. 12:624340. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.624340

 

Background: Interpersonal sensitivity is a prominent mental health problem facing college students today. Trait mindfulness is a potential positive factor that may influence interpersonal relationships. However, the precise relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity remains elusive, which limits the optimization and further application of mindfulness-based intervention schemes targeting interpersonal sensitivity. This study aimed to explore (a) whether negative emotions mediate the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity and (b) whether the relationship among trait mindfulness, negative emotions, and interpersonal sensitivity is moderated by effectiveness/authenticity. We hypothesize that (a) negative emotions mediate the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity, and (b) effectiveness/authenticity moderates the indirect association between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity through negative emotions.

Methods: One thousand four hundred nineteen Chinese college students (1,023 females, 396 males), aged from 17 to 23 (SD = 0.86, mean = 18.38), participated in this study. Their trait mindfulness, negative emotions, the effectiveness/authenticity, and interpersonal sensitivity were measured using well-validated self-report questionnaires.

Results: Correlational analyses indicated that both trait mindfulness and effectiveness/authenticity were significantly and negatively associated with interpersonal sensitivity. Mediation analyses uncovered a partial mediating role of negative emotions in the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity. Moderated mediation analyses showed that in college students with high effectiveness/authenticity, the relationship between trait mindfulness and negative emotions was stronger, whereas the relationship between negative emotions and interpersonal sensitivity was weaker.

Conclusion: Negative emotion is a mediator of the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity, which in turn is moderated by effectiveness/authenticity. These findings suggest a potential mechanism through which trait mindfulness influences interpersonal sensitivity. Mindfulness-based interventions have the potential to decrease interpersonal sensitivity and offer a basis for predicting individual differences in response to mindfulness-based interventions among individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.624340/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Emotion Regulation with a Mindfulness Smartphone App

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Emotion Regulation with a Mindfulness Smartphone App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We know that the effect of this pandemic on people’s mental health is huge. . . Through the app . . You are led through a multi-sensory process of imagining yourself in a particular situation. . . Those techniques can in fact help people to reduce depression, reduce anxiety, and improve their mood,” – Judith Gordon

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. But the vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness training with smartphone apps has been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training via smartphone apps can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Self-Compassion and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Mobile Intervention (Serene) for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Promoting Adaptive Emotional Regulation and Wisdom.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A ) Al-Refae and colleagues recruited adults and assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive a 4-week program of mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive restructuring training delivered by a smartphone app (Serene). They were measured before and after training for depression, stress, anxiety, self-compassion, wisdom, psychological well-being, and subjective well-being.

 

They found that in comparison to the wait-list group, after the 4-weeks of training the participants that received the mindfulness training had significant decreases in depression, anxiety, perceived stress self-judgement, isolation, and overidentification and significant increases in self-compassion, common humanity, mindfulness, and emotion regulation. In other words, the participants had improvements in psychological health and well-being.

 

Previous research has established that mindfulness training decreases depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and self-judgement and increases self-compassion, and emotion regulation. The contribution of the present study was demonstrating that mindfulness training with a smartphone app was also capable of producing these same benefits. This improves the scalability and convenience of training and reduces the cost, expanding the number of people who can benefit from mindfulness training.

 

So, improve psychological well-being and emotion regulation with a mindfulness smartphone app.

 

The Serene app features support videos that introduce users to meditation and other safe activities. . . It offers more than 250 activities and provides link to . . . mental-health support services, including crisis centers. This app is for all ages and is meant to help track your emotions and mood swings.” – Fontaine Glenn

 

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

 

Al-Refae M, Al-Refae A, Munroe M, Sardella NA and Ferrari M (2021) A Self-Compassion and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Mobile Intervention (Serene) for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Promoting Adaptive Emotional Regulation and Wisdom. Front. Psychol. 12:648087. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087

 

Introduction: Many individuals and families are currently experiencing a high level of COVID-19-related stress and are struggling to find helpful coping mechanisms. Mindfulness-based interventions are becoming an increasingly popular treatment for individuals experiencing depression and chronic levels of stress. The app (Serene) draws from scholarly evidence on the efficacy of mindfulness meditations and builds on the pre-existing apps by incorporating techniques that are used in some therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a 4-week mindfulness and self-compassion-based cognitive smartphone intervention (Serene) or a wait-list control group. They were instructed to engage in self-compassion and mindfulness practices and a cognitive restructuring task. They also completed measures that evaluated their levels of depression, stress, anxiety, self-compassion, wisdom, psychological well-being, and subjective well-being. The intervention group was also instructed to track their weekly engagement with the app. Standardized effect sizes for between-group differences were calculated using Cohen’s d for complete case analyses.

Results: Complete case analyses from baseline to the end of this randomized controlled trial demonstrated significant moderate between-group differences for depressive symptoms (d = −0.43) and decisiveness (d = 0.34). Moderate between-group differences were also found for self-compassion (d = 0.6) such that significant improvements in self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness and decreases in self-judgement, isolation, and overidentification were observed. A small between-group difference was found for emotional regulation (d = 0.28). Moreover, a significant moderate within-group decrease in stress (d = −0.52) and anxiety symptoms (d = −0.47) was also observed in the intervention group.

Conclusions: Serene is an effective intervention that promotes increased levels of self-compassion and emotional regulation. Engaging with Serene may help reduce depressive symptoms through mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive restructuring which help reduce overidentification with one’s negative emotions. As individuals rebalance their thinking through cognitive restructuring, they can identify the varying stressors in their life, develop action plans and engage in adaptive coping strategies to address them. Serene may promote greater self-understanding which may provide one with a more balanced perspective on their current upsetting situations to positively transform their challenges during the pandemic.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Mindfulness Training Reduces Posttraumatic Stress Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Mindfulness Training Reduces Posttraumatic Stress Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People with PTSD may sometimes feel as though they have a hard time getting any distance from unpleasant thoughts and memories. . . Mindfulness may help people get back in touch with the present moment, as well as reduce the extent with which they feel controlled by unpleasant thoughts and memories.” – Matthew Tull

 

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. 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.

 

Intimate partner violence frequently produces Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the survivors. Hence, there is a need to find ways to reduce the impact of intimate partner violence on the mental health of the survivors. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective in treating survivors of intimate partner violence.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness training on posttraumatic stress symptoms from a community-based pilot clinical trial among survivors of intimate partner violence.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052636/ ) In a small pilot study, Gallegos and colleagues recruited, through family court, women who were survivors of intimate partner violence. They were randomly assigned to receive either an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or wellness education. MBSR met once a week for 2 hours and consisted of meditation, body scan, and yoga practices along with discussion and home practice. For wellness education the participants were provided a manual that provided information on various aspects of health, including diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and communication. They received a weekly check-in phone calls regarding the use of the manual. The participants were measured before and after training and 4-weeks later for physical and sexual assault experiences, post-traumatic stress symptoms, emotion regulation, and attention. They also had their heart rate variability measured at rest and during exposure to positive, neutral, or negative (trauma related) pictures.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, the women who received mindfulness training had significantly lower levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms and higher levels of emotion regulation, while the wellness education participants did not. This was true immediately after treatment and also 4 weeks later. There were also non-significant increases in heart rate variability while viewing trauma-related pictures in the mindfulness group and decreases in the wellness education group.

 

This is a pilot study of a small sample (29 women) and was not powered to detect significant differences between groups. The results, however were encouraging, suggesting that mindfulness training tends to relieve the symptoms of trauma, improve emotion regulation and produce relaxation of the autonomic nervous system in women who were survivors of intimate partner violence. In previous research it has been shown that mindfulness training reduces post-traumatic stress symptoms, improves emotion regulation, and relaxes the autonomic nervous system. The contribution of the present study is to suggest that mindfulness training might also be effective in the treatment of women who have survived intimate partner violence. The results, then, suggest that a large randomized controlled trial should be conducted,

 

So, reduce posttraumatic stress among survivors of intimate partner violence with mindfulness.

 

PTSD is really a different way of seeing the world, and is also seen at the level of physiology. But by going through a couple of months of making an effort to change thoughts and behaviors, that physiological syndrome can also change back again.” – Tony King

 

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

Gallegos, A. M., Heffner, K. L., Cerulli, C., Luck, P., McGuinness, S., & Pigeon, W. R. (2020). Effects of mindfulness training on posttraumatic stress symptoms from a community-based pilot clinical trial among survivors of intimate partner violence. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy, 12(8), 859–868. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000975

Abstract

Objective:

Exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health issue associated with deleterious mental and medical health comorbidities, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS), even when not meeting the threshold for a diagnosis of PTSD, appear to be underpinned by poor self-regulation in multiple domains, including emotion, cognitive control, and physiological stress. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) holds promise for treating PTS symptoms because evidence suggests it targets these domains. The current study was a pilot randomized clinical trial designed to examine changes in emotion regulation, attentional function, and physiological stress dysregulation among women IPV survivors with elevated PTS symptoms after participation in a group-based, 8-week MBSR program.

Method:

In total, 29 participants were randomized to receive MBSR (n = 19) or an active control (n = 10). Assessments were conducted at study entry, as well as 8 and 12 weeks later.

Results:

Between-group differences on primary outcomes were nonsignificant; however, when exploring within groups, statistically significant decreases in PTS symptoms, F(1.37, 16.53) = 5.19, p < .05, and emotion dysregulation, F(1.31, 14.46) = 9.36, p < .01, were observed after MBSR but not after the control intervention. Further, decreases in PTSD and emotion dysregulation were clinically significant for MBSR participants but not control participants.

Conclusions:

These preliminary data signal that MBSR may improve PTS symptoms and emotion regulation and suggest further study of the effectiveness of PTSD interventions guided by integrative models of MBSR mechanisms and psychophysiological models of stress regulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052636/