Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Both religion and spirituality can have a positive impact on mental health. . .  Both religion and spirituality can help a person tolerate stress by generating peace, purpose and forgiveness.” – Luna Greenstein

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. Spirituality has been promulgated as a solution to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/ ) Coelho-Júnior and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the relationship of spirituality and religiosity with the mental health of older adults. They identified 62 published research studies with participants over the age of 60.

 

They report that the published studies found that religiosity/spirituality was associated with significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and fear of death and significantly higher levels of overall psychological well-being, satisfaction with life, meaning in life, and social relations. These findings are correlative so causation cannot be determined.

 

But it is clear the older people who are religious and/or spiritual are psychologically healthier.

 

religious people live longer, on average, than non-religious people.” – Jeff Levin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Coelho-Júnior, H. J., Calvani, R., Panza, F., Allegri, R. F., Picca, A., Marzetti, E., & Alves, V. P. (2022). Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Frontiers in Medicine, 9, 877213. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.877213

 

Abstract

Objectives

The present study investigated the association between religious and spiritual (RS) practices with the prevalence, severity, and incidence of mental health problems in older adults.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies that investigated older adults aged 60+ years and assessed RS using valid scales and questions from valid scales, and mental health according to validated multidimensional or specific instruments. Studies were retrieved from MEDLINE, LILACS, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and AgeLine databases until July 31, 2021. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale (NOS). A pooled effect size was calculated based on the log odds ratio (OR) and Z-scores. This study is registered on PROSPERO.

Results

One hundred and two studies that investigated 79.918 community-dwellers, hospitalized, and institutionalized older adults were included. Results indicated that high RS was negatively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms, while a positive association was observed with life satisfaction, meaning in life, social relations, and psychological well-being. Specifically, people with high spirituality, intrinsic religiosity, and religious affiliation had a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. In relation to longitudinal analysis, most studies supported that high RS levels were associated with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and fear of death, as well as better mental health status.

Conclusion

Findings of the present study suggest that RS are significantly associated with mental health in older adults. People with high RS levels had a lower prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as reported greater life satisfaction and psychological well-being, better social relations, and more definite meaning in life. Data provided by an increasing number of longitudinal studies have supported most of these findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/

 

Improve Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Improve Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

So how does meditation lead to greater happiness? “Loving-kindness is designed to elicit positive emotions. We are stretching the way we pay attention by looking for the good in ourselves or wishing ourselves well through loving-kindness.”  – Caren Osten

 

“Meditation leads to concentration, concentration leads to understanding, and understanding leads to happiness” – This wonderful quote from the modern-day sage Thich Nhat Hahn is a beautiful pithy description of the benefits of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness allows us to view our experience and not judge it, not put labels on it, not make assumptions about it, not relate it to past experiences, and not project it into the future. Rather mindfulness lets us experience everything around and within us exactly as it is arising and falling away from moment to moment. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase positive emotions and happiness. But there is a need to further investigate the effects of mindfulness on positive emotional states.

 

In today’s Research News article “A New Second-Generation Mindfulness-Based Intervention Focusing on Well-Being: A Randomized Control Trial of Mindfulness-Based Positive Psychology.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8976107/ ) Zheng and colleagues recruited healthy adults and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive mindfulness meditation instruction for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks followed by 20 minutes of meditation practice along with home practice. They were measured before, during (every 2 weeks), after, and 3 months after the treatment for satisfaction with life, positive and negative emotions, psychological well-being, mindfulness, attitudes toward self and others, and self-compassion.

 

They found that the mindfulness meditation program produced a significant reduction in negative emotions and significant increases in self-compassion and environmental mastery. They also found that the greater the amount of meditation practice the higher the levels of positive emotions, positive relations, and awareness.

 

So, mindfulness meditation increased positive psychological states in healthy adults.

 

In order to have the resiliency to face difficulties . . . we need to find and nurture the positive parts of ourselves, and make a point of paying attention to experiences that give us pleasure.” – Sharon Salzberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zheng, Y., Zhou, J., Zeng, X., Jiang, M., & Oei, T. (2022). A New Second-Generation Mindfulness-Based Intervention Focusing on Well-Being: A Randomized Control Trial of Mindfulness-Based Positive Psychology. Journal of happiness studies, 1–22. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-022-00525-2

 

Abstract

Second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) align well with positive psychology philosophy and practices, but trials of SG-MBIs have largely focused on ill-being. This study developed a mindfulness-based positive psychology (MBPP) intervention integrating positive psychology with an SG-MBI to enhance well-being. A randomized control trial was performed to compare MBPP with a waitlist condition among 138 Chinese participants. The results showed that MBPP significantly reduced negative emotions for subjective well-being and significantly improved environmental mastery for psychological well-being. Improvements in self-compassion and negative attitudes but not avoidance, mediated changes in well-being. Changes in positive emotions, positive relations, and awareness were associated with the amount of meditation practice. These findings showed that MBPP is promising for improving well-being and that the positive psychology components play important roles. Broadly, the study illustrated that positive psychology and SG-MBIs can be effectively integrated, and it supported the further application of SG-MBIs from the positive psychology perspective.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8976107/

 

Improve Adolescent Social Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Adolescent Social Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness might help reduce adolescents’ psychological distress through reducing expressive suppression of emotion experiences.” – Ying Ma

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. It is during this time that higher levels of thinking, sometimes called executive function, develops. But adolescence can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can lead to emotional and behavioral problems.

 

Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. Mindfulness training in adults has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels and improve resilience and emotional regulation. In addition, in adolescents it has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health.

 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) produces behavior change by focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. It is likely, then that DBT would be effective in facilitating emotion regulation in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Preventing Emotional Dysregulation: Acceptability and Preliminary Effectiveness of a DBT Skills Training Program for Adolescents in the Spanish School System.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8744757/ ) Gasol and colleagues recruited high school students ages 12-15 years and provided them with 30 weekly 50 minute sessions of a modified version of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They were measured before and after treatment for satisfaction with life, mental health difficulties and strengths, and emotion regulation.

 

This pilot study found that the program was well received and liked by the students. They also found that after training the adolescents had a significant decrease in peer problems and a significant increase in prosocial behavior. Many improvements in other measures were seen but were not statistically significant. This suggests that mindfulness training may be modestly helpful for improving the social function of adolescents. Since adolescence is a time of major social stress, the program may be useful in helping the teens navigate this difficult time. But more highly controlled studies are needed.

 

So, improve social behavior in adolescents with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness appears to be a protective individual difference characteristic during adolescence, and capacity for emotion regulation may be implicated in its effects on specific symptoms of psychopathology.” – Christopher Pepping

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gasol, X., Navarro-Haro, M. V., Fernández-Felipe, I., García-Palacios, A., Suso-Ribera, C., & Gasol-Colomina, M. (2022). Preventing Emotional Dysregulation: Acceptability and Preliminary Effectiveness of a DBT Skills Training Program for Adolescents in the Spanish School System. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(1), 494. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010494

 

Abstract

Emotional dysregulation is a key factor in the development and maintenance of multiple disabling mental disorders through a person’s lifespan. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prevent emotional dysregulation as early as possible. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of an adapted Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training program for Emotional Problem Solving in Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A) during secondary school. The sample included 93 adolescents (mean age = 12.78; SD = 0.54; and 53% female) studying in their 2nd year of secondary school in a public center in Catalonia (Spain). Measures of acceptability, difficulties of emotional regulation, mental health problems, and life satisfaction were completed before and after participation in the DBT STEPS-A program during one academic year. The majority of students rated the program as useful (64%) and enjoyed the classes (62%) and 48% of them reported practicing the newly learned skills. Statistically significant improvements were revealed in some emotional regulation-related variables, namely the number of peer problems (p = 0.003; d = 0.52) and prosocial behaviors (p < 0.001; d = −0.82). Although non-significant, the scores in the remaining outcomes indicated a general positive trend in emotional dysregulation, mental health, and life satisfaction. The adapted DBT STEPS-A was very well-accepted and helped overcome some emotional regulation difficulties in Spanish adolescents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8744757/

 

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

DBT . . . is considered one of the best treatments for [Borderline Personality Disorder] in terms of documented success rates. . . [Borderline Personality Disorder] is effective in reducing psychiatric hospitalization, substance use, and suicidal behavior. . .  self-injurious behaviors, and the severity of borderline symptoms.” – Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very serious mental illness that is estimated to affect 1.6% of the U.S. population. It involves unstable moods, behavior, and relationships, problems with regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive and reckless behavior, and unstable relationships. About ¾ of BPD patients engage in self-injurious behaviors.

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be effective for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic of BPD including self-injury. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. The research regarding the effectiveness of DBT reduces for BPD patients has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychological therapies for people with borderline personality disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199382/ ) Storebø and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). They found 25 randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the published research found that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) compared to treatment as usual, wait-list controls, and no-treatment produced significantly greater reductions in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) severity, self-harm, anger, impulsivity, dissociation, psychotic-like symptoms, and emotional instability and significantly greater increases in psychological functioning. There were no significant differences in adverse events between DBT and controls.

 

The published research clearly demonstrates that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a safe and effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

 

“‘Dialectical’ means trying to understand how two things that seem opposite could both be true. For example, accepting yourself and changing your behaviour might feel contradictory. But DBT teaches that it’s possible for you to achieve both these goals together.” – Mind

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Storebø, O. J., Stoffers-Winterling, J. M., Völlm, B. A., Kongerslev, M. T., Mattivi, J. T., Jørgensen, M. S., Faltinsen, E., Todorovac, A., Sales, C. P., Callesen, H. E., Lieb, K., & Simonsen, E. (2020). Psychological therapies for people with borderline personality disorder. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 5(5), CD012955. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012955.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Over the decades, a variety of psychological interventions for borderline personality disorder (BPD) have been developed. This review updates and replaces an earlier review (Stoffers‐Winterling 2012).

Objectives

To assess the beneficial and harmful effects of psychological therapies for people with BPD.

Search methods

In March 2019, we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, 14 other databases and four trials registers. We contacted researchers working in the field to ask for additional data from published and unpublished trials, and handsearched relevant journals. We did not restrict the search by year of publication, language or type of publication.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials comparing different psychotherapeutic interventions with treatment‐as‐usual (TAU; which included various kinds of psychotherapy), waiting list, no treatment or active treatments in samples of all ages, in any setting, with a formal diagnosis of BPD. The primary outcomes were BPD symptom severity, self‐harm, suicide‐related outcomes, and psychosocial functioning. There were 11 secondary outcomes, including individual BPD symptoms, as well as attrition and adverse effects.

Data collection and analysis

At least two review authors independently selected trials, extracted data, assessed risk of bias using Cochrane’s ‘Risk of bias’ tool and assessed the certainty of the evidence using the GRADE approach. We performed data analysis using Review Manager 5 and quantified the statistical reliability of the data using Trial Sequential Analysis.

Main results

We included 75 randomised controlled trials (4507 participants), predominantly involving females with mean ages ranging from 14.8 to 45.7 years. More than 16 different kinds of psychotherapy were included, mostly dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and mentalisation‐based treatment (MBT). The comparator interventions included treatment‐as‐usual (TAU), waiting list, and other active treatments. Treatment duration ranged from one to 36 months.

Psychotherapy versus TAU

Psychotherapy reduced BPD symptom severity, compared to TAU; standardised mean difference (SMD) −0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.70 to −0.33; 22 trials, 1244 participants; moderate‐quality evidence. This corresponds to a mean difference (MD) of −3.6 (95% CI −4.4 to −2.08) on the Zanarini Rating Scale for BPD (range 0 to 36), a clinically relevant reduction in BPD symptom severity (minimal clinical relevant difference (MIREDIF) on this scale is −3.0 points).

Psychotherapy may be more effective at reducing self‐harm compared to TAU (SMD −0.32, 95% CI −0.49 to −0.14; 13 trials, 616 participants; low‐quality evidence), corresponding to a MD of −0.82 (95% CI −1.25 to 0.35) on the Deliberate Self‐Harm Inventory Scale (range 0 to 34). The MIREDIF of −1.25 points was not reached.

Suicide‐related outcomes improved compared to TAU (SMD −0.34, 95% CI −0.57 to −0.11; 13 trials, 666 participants; low‐quality evidence), corresponding to a MD of −0.11 (95% CI −0.19 to −0.034) on the Suicidal Attempt Self Injury Interview. The MIREDIF of −0.17 points was not reached.

Compared to TAU, psychotherapy may result in an improvement in psychosocial functioning (SMD −0.45, 95% CI −0.68 to −0.22; 22 trials, 1314 participants; low‐quality evidence), corresponding to a MD of −2.8 (95% CI −4.25 to −1.38), on the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (range 0 to 100). The MIREDIF of −4.0 points was not reached.

Our additional Trial Sequential Analysis on all primary outcomes reaching significance found that the required information size was reached in all cases.

A subgroup analysis comparing the different types of psychotherapy compared to TAU showed no clear evidence of a difference for BPD severity and psychosocial functioning.

Psychotherapy may reduce depressive symptoms compared to TAU but the evidence is very uncertain (SMD −0.39, 95% CI −0.61 to −0.17; 22 trials, 1568 participants; very low‐quality evidence), corresponding to a MD of −2.45 points on the Hamilton Depression Scale (range 0 to 50). The MIREDIF of −3.0 points was not reached.

BPD‐specific psychotherapy did not reduce attrition compared with TAU. Adverse effects were unclear due to too few data.

Psychotherapy versus waiting list or no treatment

Greater improvements in BPD symptom severity (SMD −0.49, 95% CI −0.93 to −0.05; 3 trials, 161 participants), psychosocial functioning (SMD −0.56, 95% CI −1.01 to −0.11; 5 trials, 219 participants), and depression (SMD −1.28, 95% CI −2.21 to −0.34, 6 trials, 239 participants) were observed in participants receiving psychotherapy versus waiting list or no treatment (all low‐quality evidence). No evidence of a difference was found for self‐harm and suicide‐related outcomes.

Individual treatment approaches

DBT and MBT have the highest numbers of primary trials, with DBT as subject of one‐third of all included trials, followed by MBT with seven RCTs.

Compared to TAU, DBT was more effective at reducing BPD severity (SMD −0.60, 95% CI −1.05 to −0.14; 3 trials, 149 participants), self‐harm (SMD −0.28, 95% CI −0.48 to −0.07; 7 trials, 376 participants) and improving psychosocial functioning (SMD −0.36, 95% CI −0.69 to −0.03; 6 trials, 225 participants). MBT appears to be more effective than TAU at reducing self‐harm (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.80; 3 trials, 252 participants), suicidality (RR 0.10, 95% CI 0.04, 0.30, 3 trials, 218 participants) and depression (SMD −0.58, 95% CI −1.22 to 0.05, 4 trials, 333 participants). All findings are based on low‐quality evidence. For secondary outcomes see review text.

Authors’ conclusions

Our assessments showed beneficial effects on all primary outcomes in favour of BPD‐tailored psychotherapy compared with TAU. However, only the outcome of BPD severity reached the MIREDIF‐defined cut‐off for a clinically meaningful improvement. Subgroup analyses found no evidence of a difference in effect estimates between the different types of therapies (compared to TAU) .

The pooled analysis of psychotherapy versus waiting list or no treatment found significant improvement on BPD severity, psychosocial functioning and depression at end of treatment, but these findings were based on low‐quality evidence, and the true magnitude of these effects is uncertain. No clear evidence of difference was found for self‐harm and suicide‐related outcomes.

However, compared to TAU, we observed effects in favour of DBT for BPD severity, self‐harm and psychosocial functioning and, for MBT, on self‐harm and suicidality at end of treatment, but these were all based on low‐quality evidence. Therefore, we are unsure whether these effects would alter with the addition of more data.

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Plain language summary

Psychological therapies for people with borderline personality disorder

Background

People affected by borderline personality disorder (BPD) often have difficulties with controlling their impulses and emotions. They may have a poor self‐image, experience rapid changes in mood, harm themselves and find it hard to engage in harmonious interpersonal relationships. Different types of psychological treatments (‘talking treatments’) have been developed to help people with BPD. The effects of these treatments must be investigated to decide how well they work and if they can be harmful.

Objective

This review summarises what we currently know about the effect of psychotherapy in people with BPD.

Methods

We compared the effects of psychological treatments on people affected by BPD who did not receive treatment or who continued their usual treatment, were on a waiting list or received active treatment.

Findings

We searched for relevant research articles, and found 75 trials (4507 participants, mostly female, mean age ranging from 14.8 to 45.7 years). The trials examined a wide variety of psychological treatments (over 16 different types). They were mostly conducted in outpatient settings, and lasted between one and 36 months. Dialectical behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mentalisation‐Based Treatment (MBT) were the therapies most studied.

Psychotherapy compared with usual treatment

Psychotherapy reduced the severity of BPD symptoms and suicidality and may reduce self‐harm and depression whilst also improving psychological functioning compared to usual treatment. DBT may be better than usual treatment at reducing BPD severity, self‐harm and improving psychosocial functioning. Similarly, MBT appears to be more effective than usual treatment at reducing self‐harm, suicidality and depression. However, these findings were all based on low‐quality evidence and therefore we are uncertain whether or not these results would change if we added more trials. Most trials did not report adverse effects, and those that did, found no obvious unwanted reactions following psychological treatment. The majority of trials (64 out of 75) were funded by grants from universities, authorities or research foundations. Four trials reported that no funding was received. For the remaining trials (7), funding was not specified.

Psychotherapy versus waiting list or no treatment

Psychotherapy was more effective than waiting list at improving BPD symptoms, psychosocial functioning, and depression, but there was no clear difference between psychotherapy, and waiting list for outcomes of self‐harm, and suicide‐related outcomes.

Conclusions

In general, psychotherapy may be more effective than usual treatment in reducing BPD symptom severity, self‐harm, suicide‐related outcomes and depression, whilst also improving psychosocial functioning. However, only the decrease in BPD symptom severity was found to be at a clinically important level. DBT appears to be better at reducing BPD severity, self‐harm, and improving psychosocial functioning compared to usual treatment and MBT appears more effective than usual treatment at reducing self‐harm and suicidality. However, we are still uncertain about these findings as the quality of the evidence is low.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199382/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

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 cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. It is important to teach skills that improve well-being early in life. This can affect individuals throughout their lives. So, there is a need to further study the ability of mindfulness training to improve the well-being of elementary school students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/ ) Poli and colleagues recruited 5th grade students. They were measured before and after either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or no treatment for anxiety depression, and temperament.

 

They found that mindfulness training reduced anxiety levels and inhibition to novelty and increased attention, social orientation, positive emotionality. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of elementary school children.

 

Mindfulness improves the well-being of kids.

 

mental wellbeing does not mean being happy all the time and it does not mean you won’t experience negative or painful emotions, such as grief, loss, or failure, which are a part of normal life. However, whatever your age, mindfulness can help you lead a mentally healthier life and improve your wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Poli, A., Maremmani, A., Gemignani, A., & Miccoli, M. (2022). Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 12(3), 74. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12030074

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is a mental state that can be achieved through meditation. So far, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness on a consistent and regular basis can improve attentional functions and emotional well-being. Mindfulness has recently begun to be used in the field of child development. The goal of this study is to assess if a mindfulness program may help primary school students in reducing anxiety and depression while also improving their temperamental characteristics. This multi-arm pre-post study included 41 subjects recruited in the fifth year of two primary school classes. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. The experimental group, but not the control group, underwent an eight-week mindfulness training. Every week, the program included 60-min group sessions. QUIT (Italian Questionnaires of Temperament) and TAD (Test for Anxiety and Depression in Childhood and Adolescence) were used to assess temperament, and anxiety and depression, respectively. Both groups were administered both instruments before and after mindfulness intervention. The mindfulness program lowered anxiety levels and was effective in changing temperament dimensions: there was an increase in social orientation (SO), positive emotionality (PE), and attention (AT), as well as a decrease in inhibition to novelty (IN) and negative emotionality. Path analysis revealed that AT may promote the improvement of both SO and IN. Similarly, PE may be promoted by the decrease of IN. Clinical implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/

 

Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

Improved Psychological Well-Being and Cognition is Reported by Adult who Engage in Microdosing of Psychedelic Substances

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“After a 40-year moratorium, the psychedelic renaissance has begun: rigorous scientific methods can now be used to investigate psychedelics as potential medicines and for “the betterment of well people”. – Thomas Anderson

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin 

have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

Recently doses of psychedelic substances that are small enough that they do not produce psychedelic effects (microdoses) have been employed repeatedly in real world settings. They have been reported to produce reductions in the symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and promote social interaction. But there is little systematic research on the effects of repeated psychedelic microdosing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/ ) Cameron and colleagues recruited adult volunteers to complete an anonymous online survey of “Recreational Drug and Alcohol Use”. The survey requested information regarding familiarity with psychedelic microdosing. personal practices, drugs used, and any changes observed in depression, anxiety, memory, sociability, focus/attention, and physical health.

 

They found that of the 2347 respondents the majority (59%) were familiar with psychedelic microdosing but only 13 % ever practiced it and only 4% were currently practicing. LSD and Psilocybin were the most common drugs used in microdosing. Males, veterans, and less educated participants were significantly more likely to practice psychedelic microdosing.

 

In comparison to participants who did not microdose, those that did reported significantly greater reductions in depression anxiety and greater improvements in memory, attention, and sociability. Males again reported the greatest improvements. The majority of the participants who stopped microdosing attributed it to difficulty in obtaining the drugs and their legal riskiness.

 

These results were produced by an anonymous survey and there was no way to ascertain the veracity of the responses. In addition, there were no comparison to other spontaneously used drugs to determine demand characteristics or placebo effects. Hence, the results are from a self-selected sample, have strong expectancy effect, and with no objective verification of the responses. So, these results must be viewed as preliminary. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is viewed by those engaging in it as beneficial for their psychological well-being and cognitive ability. These are interesting results that suggest that further investigation in warranted to determine if this practicemay be useful in improving well-being.

 

So, improved psychological well-being and cognition is reported by adult who engage in microdosing of psychedelic substances.

 

We have an epidemic of mental health problems, with existing treatments that don’t work for everyone. We need to follow the lead of patients who are taking these initiatives to improve their wellbeing and reduce suffering.” – Zach Walsh

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cameron, L. P., Nazarian, A., & Olson, D. E. (2020). Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 52(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2020.1718250

 

Abstract

Anecdotal reports suggest that the administration of sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic compounds on a chronic, intermittent schedule—a practice known as psychedelic microdosing—is becoming increasingly popular among young adults due to its purported ability to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while improving cognitive function and promoting social interaction. Using an anonymous online survey, we collected data from 2347 people to 1) assess the prevalence of psychedelic microdosing and characterize the demographics of microdosers, 2) determine whether microdosers associate the practice with changes in mood, cognitive function, social interaction, or physiology, and 3) investigate frequent motives for discontinuing the practice. Fifty-nine percent of respondents (NT = 2183) reported familiarity with the concept of psychedelic microdosing, with 17% (383 respondents, NT=2200) having engaged in this practice. Microdosers attributed psychedelic microdosing with improving their mood, decreasing their anxiety, and enhancing their memory, attention, and sociability. The most frequently cited reasons for quitting microdosing (NT = 243) were the risks associated with taking an illegal substance (24.28%) and the difficulty of obtaining psychedelic compounds (22.63%). Overall, our findings suggest that psychedelic microdosing is relatively common and is subjectively associated with a broad spectrum of socio-affective, cognitive, and physical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282936/

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teaching mindfulness to kids can also help shape three critical skills developed in early childhood: paying attention and remembering information, shifting back and forth between tasks, and behaving appropriately with others.” – Christopher Willard

 

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 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. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A ) Filipe and colleagues review and summarize the published controlled research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on 6-12 year old children. They found 29 published research articles.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the children’s cognitive skills, including overall executive functions, attention, concentration, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and immediate auditory-verbal memory. They also found that there were significant improvements in socio-emotional skills, including stress, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-esteem, resilience, psychological happiness, empathy, perspective-taking, emotional control, optimism, depression, internalizing problems, peer aggression, prosocial behavior, peer acceptance, anxiety, self-control, self-regulation, mental health problems, quality of life, self-compassion, acceptance, relaxation, happiness, aggressive behaviors, and social competence. But only one of the 29 studies reported improvements in academic skills.

 

The published research makes a strong case for the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve the cognitive and socio-emotional skills on children. But there is little evidence for improvement in academic performance. Unfortunately, only 9 of the 29 studies employed strong research designs (randomized controlled trails). So, there is a need for further research with high quality research designs. Nevertheless, the consistency and magnitude of the findings suggest robust positive effects of mindfulness trainings on a myriad of cognitive, social, and emotional skills in children. These are important benefits for these developing humans that may have important contributions to their growth and well-being, perhaps eventually making them better adults. As such, mindfulness training should be incorporated into the school curriculum.

 

So, improve cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children with mindfulness.

 

For children, mindfulness can offer relief from whatever difficulties they might be encountering in life. It also gives them the beauty of being in the present moment.” – Annaka Harris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Filipe MG, Magalhães S, Veloso AS, Costa AF, Ribeiro L, Araújo P, Castro SL and Limpo T (2021) Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review. Front. Psychol. 12:660650. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650

 

There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“psychedelics have profound cognitive, emotional, and social effects that inspired the development of cultures and religions worldwide.” – Michael J. Winkelman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings, a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever.

 

It is not known why the use of psychedelic substances have been so widely used throughout human evolution. Natural selection suggests that the use of these substances must confer some adaptive advantage, or their use would have ceased. What exactly are those advantages is a source of active debate in the scientific community. In today’s Research News article “Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Arce and colleagues provide an evidence backed theoretical argument regarding the role of psychedelic substances in the evolution of humankind.

 

There is substantial evidence that early hominids routinely ingested fungi including mushroom that contained psychedelic substances. Early recorded history includes description of psychedelic uses in Mesoamerican societies. Indeed, psychedelic use has been recorded in early societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, South America, Artic and Subarctic, and Central America. This suggests that there must be some instrumental effect of these substances that enhances the survival of humans.

 

Psilocybin and related psychedelics do not have physically toxic side effects. So, they can be ingested safely. The only evident problem is a change in cognition that could open “the possibility for errors in judgment, false perceptions, distortions, and illusions that could undermine an individual’s capacity for alertness, strategic thinking, and decision-making”. But early humans learned to use these substances in particular circumstances, such as rituals,  where the consequences of altered cognition could be minimized.

 

In their favor, psychedelic substances have been shown to improve coping with stress which was likely high in early hominid development. In addition, psychedelic substances have been used throughout history for the treatment of diseases and in recent years have been found to be effective in promoting recovery from a cancer diagnosis, relieving depression, and even in smoking cessation.

 

Psychedelic substances have traditionally been used in groups particularly around rituals and religious ceremonies which would improve social bonds, group cohesion, and pro-social behavior. This would facilitate social cooperation that was essential for early hominid group survival. Psychedelic substances have also been shown to enhance creative thinking and problem solving which would be of great use in adapting to changing environments.

 

These findings and arguments suggest that ingesting psychedelic substances may have been adaptive for humans increasing their chances of survival and procreation. It seems counterintuitive that ingesting substances that for the short term may make the individual less responsive and capable in the environment could actually improve survival. But that is what psychedelic substances appear to do. In this way ingesting psychedelic substances may be adaptive and thus be promoted in evolution.

 

So, psychedelic drugs are theorized to have aided in human social evolution

 

psychedelic drugs. By simulating the effects of religious transcendence, they mimic states of mind that played an evolutionarily valuable role in making human cooperation possible – and with it, greater numbers of surviving descendants.” – James Carney

 

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

 

Rodríguez Arce JM and Winkelman MJ (2021) Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution. Front. Psychol. 12:729425. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425

 

Our hominin ancestors inevitably encountered and likely ingested psychedelic mushrooms throughout their evolutionary history. This assertion is supported by current understanding of: early hominins’ paleodiet and paleoecology; primate phylogeny of mycophagical and self-medicative behaviors; and the biogeography of psilocybin-containing fungi. These lines of evidence indicate mushrooms (including bioactive species) have been a relevant resource since the Pliocene, when hominins intensified exploitation of forest floor foods. Psilocybin and similar psychedelics that primarily target the serotonin 2A receptor subtype stimulate an active coping strategy response that may provide an enhanced capacity for adaptive changes through a flexible and associative mode of cognition. Such psychedelics also alter emotional processing, self-regulation, and social behavior, often having enduring effects on individual and group well-being and sociality. A homeostatic and drug instrumentalization perspective suggests that incidental inclusion of psychedelics in the diet of hominins, and their eventual addition to rituals and institutions of early humans could have conferred selective advantages. Hominin evolution occurred in an ever-changing, and at times quickly changing, environmental landscape and entailed advancement into a socio-cognitive niche, i.e., the development of a socially interdependent lifeway based on reasoning, cooperative communication, and social learning. In this context, psychedelics’ effects in enhancing sociality, imagination, eloquence, and suggestibility may have increased adaptability and fitness. We present interdisciplinary evidence for a model of psychedelic instrumentalization focused on four interrelated instrumentalization goals: management of psychological distress and treatment of health problems; enhanced social interaction and interpersonal relations; facilitation of collective ritual and religious activities; and enhanced group decision-making. The socio-cognitive niche was simultaneously a selection pressure and an adaptive response, and was partially constructed by hominins through their activities and their choices. Therefore, the evolutionary scenario put forward suggests that integration of psilocybin into ancient diet, communal practice, and proto-religious activity may have enhanced hominin response to the socio-cognitive niche, while also aiding in its creation. In particular, the interpersonal and prosocial effects of psilocybin may have mediated the expansion of social bonding mechanisms such as laughter, music, storytelling, and religion, imposing a systematic bias on the selective environment that favored selection for prosociality in our lineage.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

state mindfulness was associated with positive experiences across the three outcomes: higher levels of autonomy, more intense and frequent pleasant affect, and less intense and less frequent unpleasant affect.” – Kirk Warren Brown

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. As such, it has been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But mindfulness training has also been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. Indeed, it is possible that the effectiveness of mindfulness training in relieving mental and physical illness may result from its ability to improve positive psychological states. There is accumulating research. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/ ) Allen and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on positive psychological states. They identified 22 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness-based interventions significantly increased eudaimonia, well-being, of children, adults, and couples. Mindfulness-based interventions were also found to significantly enhance hedonia, positive emotions (amusement, awe, contentment, joy, gratitude, hope, interest, love, and pride, collectively) and quality of life. They also report that mindfulness training produces significant increases in prosocial behavior, social competence, emotion regulation, flexibility, academic performance, delay of gratification, coping behavior, relaxation, self-compassion, and happiness.

 

Hence, the research published to date supports the conclusion that mindfulness-based interventions improve positive psychological states. So, these interventions are not only useful for the relief of negative psychological states in people who are suffering but can also enhance the psychological well-being of everyone.

 

So, increase positive psychological states with mindfulness.

 

 

mindfulness is a fundamental part of a broad program of psycho-spiritual development, aiming to help people reach ‘enlightenment’. . .  it may be conceived of as the superlative state of happiness, equanimity and freedom that a human being is capable of experiencing.” – Itai Ivtzan

 

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

 

Allen, J. G., Romate, J., & Rajkumar, E. (2021). Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review. BMC psychology, 9(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00618-2

 

Abstract

Background

There are hundreds of mindfulness-based interventions in the form of structured and unstructured therapies, trainings, and meditation programs, mostly utilized in a clinical rather than a well-being perspective. The number of empirical studies on positive potentials of mindfulness is comparatively less, and their known status in academia is ambiguous. Hence, the current paper aimed to review the studies where mindfulness-based interventions had integrated positive psychology variables, in order to produce positive functioning.

Methods

Data were obtained from the databases of PubMed, Scopus, and PsycNet and manual search in Google Scholar. From the 3831 articles, irrelevant or inaccessible studies were eliminated, reducing the number of final articles chosen for review to 21. Interventions that contribute to enhancement of eudaimonia, hedonia, and other positive variables are discussed.

Results

Findings include the potential positive qualities of MBIs in producing specific positive outcomes within limited circumstances, and ascendancy of hedonia and other positive variables over eudaimonic enhancement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, exigency of modifications in the existing MBIs to bring about exclusively positive outcomes was identified, and observed the necessity of novel interventions for eudaimonic enhancement and elevation of hedonia in a comprehensive manner.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/

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/