Improve Major Depression in the Real World with Mindfulness

Improve Major Depression in the Real World with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Depression is not only the most common mental illness, it’s also one of the most tenacious. Up to 80 percent of people who experience a major depressive episode may relapse. Drugs may lose their effectiveness over time, if they work at all. But a growing body of research is pointing to an intervention that appears to help prevent relapse by altering thought patterns without side effects: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT.” – Stacy Lu

 

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 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 is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. MBCT has been found to be effective in treating depression.

 

Most of the research studies that have examined the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression were conducted in controlled laboratory settings. But the real world of therapeutic interventions are less consistent and much more complex and messy. This raises the question as to how effective MBCT may be for the treatment of major depression in real world.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for major depressive disorder: evidence from routine outcome monitoring data.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745235/ ) Geurts and colleagues recruited patients with major depressive disorder who had received treatment with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Their psychiatric diagnosis was recorded and before and after treatment they completed measures of mindfulness, depression, worry, and self-compassion.

 

They found that after treatment the patients had significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion and significant decreases in depression and worry. The also found that the greater the increases in mindfulness and self-compassion and decreases in worry, the greater the decreases in depression. They found that having a job mattered as those patients who had employment had significantly greater reductions in depression than the unemployed.

 

These findings are in line with those in more controlled lab studies of significant improvements in major depressive disorder produced by Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The importance of the present studies is that they demonstrate that similar improvement occur in real world clinical settings. Finally, they suggest that MBCT may increase mindfulness and self-compassion and decrease worry and these improvements are associated with greater relief of depression.

 

So, improve major depression in the real world with mindfulness.

 

“Still, there are a handful of key areas — including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety — in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments.”Alvin Powell

 

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

 

Geurts, D., Compen, F. R., Van Beek, M., & Speckens, A. (2020). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for major depressive disorder: evidence from routine outcome monitoring data. BJPsych open, 6(6), e144. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2020.118

 

Abstract

Background

Meta-analyses show efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in terms of relapse prevention and depressive symptom reduction in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). However, most studies have been conducted in controlled research settings.

Aims

We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of MBCT in patients with MDD presenting in real-world clinical practice. Moreover, we assessed whether guideline recommendations for MBCT allocation in regard to recurrence and remission status of MDD hold in clinical practice.

Method

This study assessed a naturalistic cohort of patients with (recurrent) MDD, either current or in remission (n = 765), who received MBCT in a university hospital out-patient clinic in The Netherlands. Outcome measures were self-reported depressive symptoms, worry, mindfulness skills and self-compassion. Predictors were MDD recurrence and remission status, and clinical and sociodemographic variables. Outcome and predictor analyses were conducted with linear regression.

Results

MBCT adherence was high (94%). Patients with a lower level of education had a higher chance of non-adherence. Attending more sessions positively influenced improvement in depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms significantly reduced from pre- to post-MBCT (Δ mean = 7.7, 95%CI = 7.0–8.5, Cohen’s d = 0.75). Improvement of depressive symptoms was independent from MDD recurrence and remission status. Unemployed patients showed less favourable outcomes. Worry, mindfulness skills and self-compassion all significantly improved. These improvements were related to changes in depressive symptoms.

Conclusions

Previous efficacy results in controlled research settings are maintained in clinical practice. Results illustrate that MBCT is effective in routine clinical practice for patients suffering from MDD, irrespective of MDD recurrence and remission status.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745235/

 

Improve Psychological Health with a Self-Guided, Smartphone-Based Mindfulness App

Improve Psychological Health with a Self-Guided, Smartphone-Based Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Another part of the appeal of smartphone-based apps is their anonymity. “The apps also allow for privacy and confidentiality and can be a safe space for individuals who may be too ashamed to admit their mental health issues in person or who may feel that they will be negatively labeled or stigmatized by others,” – Sal Raichback

 

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 “Testing the Efficacy of a Multicomponent, Self-Guided, Smartphone-Based Meditation App: Three-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732708/ ) Goldberg and colleagues recruited adults who did not have extensive meditation experience and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive either of 2 8-week smartphone app mindfulness training with the Healthy Minds Program. They received 4 weeks of awareness training including awareness of breathing and awareness of sounds. They were then again randomly assigned to receive 4 weeks of either Connection training consisting or gratitude and kindness practices or Insight Training consisting of “the changing nature of the phenomenon (ie, impermanence) and examining how thoughts and emotions influence perception” practices. They were measured before after the first 4-week module and after the second 4-week module for mindfulness, psychological distress, perceived stress, interpersonal connections, interpersonal reactivity, compassion, self-reflection, rumination, and defusion.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group both intervention conditions produced significant increases in mindfulness, social connection, self-reflection and defusion and significant decreases in psychological distress, and rumination with no significant differences between the smartphone interventions. There were no differences between the wait-list controls and the intervention in compassion and empathy.

 

These are interesting findings that correspond to the finding in prior research that training the increases mindfulness produces significant increases in social connection, self-reflection and defusion and significant decreases in psychological distress, and rumination. They demonstrate that smartphone trainings that improve mindfulness produce improvement in the psychological health of the participants.

 

It was a bit surprising that the benefits of the awareness plus connection training did not significantly differ from the benefits of awareness plus insight training. But since both trainings equivalently higher mindfulness and increased mindfulness has been shown to produce these benefits, it is reasonable to conclude that any training the improves mindfulness will improve psychological health..

 

So, improve psychological health with a self-guided, smartphone-based mindfulness App.

 

Using a smartphone app, may provide immediate effects on mood and stress while also providing long-term benefits for attentional control. . . there is evidence that with continued usage, [mindfulness training] via a smartphone app may provide long-term benefits in changing how one relates to their inner and outer experiences.” – Kathleen Marie Walsh

 

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

 

Goldberg, S. B., Imhoff-Smith, T., Bolt, D. M., Wilson-Mendenhall, C. D., Dahl, C. J., Davidson, R. J., & Rosenkranz, M. A. (2020). Testing the Efficacy of a Multicomponent, Self-Guided, Smartphone-Based Meditation App: Three-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health, 7(11), e23825. https://doi.org/10.2196/23825

 

Abstract

Background

A growing number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest psychological benefits associated with meditation training delivered via mobile health. However, research in this area has primarily focused on mindfulness, only one of many meditative techniques.

Objective

This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of 2 versions of a self-guided, smartphone-based meditation app—the Healthy Minds Program (HMP)—which includes training in mindfulness (Awareness), along with practices designed to cultivate positive relationships (Connection) or insight into the nature of the self (Insight).

Methods

A three-arm, fully remote RCT compared 8 weeks of one of 2 HMP conditions (Awareness+Connection and Awareness+Insight) with a waitlist control. Adults (≥18 years) without extensive previous meditation experience were eligible. The primary outcome was psychological distress (depression, anxiety, and stress). Secondary outcomes were social connection, empathy, compassion, self-reflection, insight, rumination, defusion, and mindfulness. Measures were completed at pretest, midtreatment, and posttest between October 2019 and April 2020. Longitudinal data were analyzed using intention-to-treat principles with maximum likelihood.

Results

A total of 343 participants were randomized and 186 (54.2%) completed at least one posttest assessment. The majority (166/228, 72.8%) of those assigned to HMP conditions downloaded the app. The 2 HMP conditions did not differ from one another in terms of changes in any outcome. Relative to the waitlist control, the HMP conditions showed larger improvements in distress, social connectedness, mindfulness, and measures theoretically linked to insight training (d=–0.28 to 0.41; Ps≤.02), despite modest exposure to connection- and insight-related practice. The results were robust to some assumptions about nonrandom patterns of missing data. Improvements in distress were associated with days of use. Candidate mediators (social connection, insight, rumination, defusion, and mindfulness) and moderators (baseline rumination, defusion, and empathy) of changes in distress were identified.

Conclusions

This study provides initial evidence of efficacy for the HMP app in reducing distress and improving outcomes related to well-being, including social connectedness. Future studies should attempt to increase study retention and user engagement.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732708/

 

Attachment Insecurity Lowers Mindfulness and Increases Rumination Which Heightens Conflict

Attachment Insecurity Lowers Mindfulness and Increases Rumination Which Heightens Conflict

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness, which has been shown to help mental, behavioral, and physical outcomes in both youth and adults, is a powerful tool that can help us respond to conflict in a non-reactive way.”Whitney Stuart

 

Relationships can be difficult as two individuals can and do frequently disagree or misunderstand one another. These conflicts can produce strong emotions and it is important to be able to regulate these emotions in order to keep them from interfering with rational solutions to the conflict. In fact, it has been asserted that the inability to resolve conflicts underlies the majority of divorces. Mindfulness may be helpful in navigating disputes, as it has been shown to improve the emotion regulation and reduce the repetitive thinking about the conflict, rumination. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to improve relationships. So, mindfulness training may improve the ability to resolve conflict

 

Attachment has been shown to affect the individual’s well-being. There are a variety of ways that individuals attach to others. The particular strategies are thought to develop during childhood through attachments to caregivers. They are secure, insecure, avoidant, ambivalent, fearful, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment styles. Secure attachment style is healthy and leads to positive development while all of the others are maladaptive and unhealthy. These can lead to psychological difficulties and interfere with the individual’s ability to relate to others and resolve conflict.

 

The relationships between attachment style, mindfulness, rumination, and conflict have not been previously studied. In today’s Research News article “Being in the Moment So You Can Keep Moving Forward: Mindfulness and Rumination Mediate the Relationship between Attachment Orientations and Negative Conflict Styles.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559327/ ) Quickert and MacDonald recruited college students and had them complete measures of attachment orientation, experiential avoidance, relationship satisfaction, relationship mindfulness, romantic partner conflict styles, rumination, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of general mindfulness and relationship mindfulness the lower the levels of experiential avoidance, attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, rumination, and relationship rumination. In addition, the higher the levels of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance the higher the levels of experiential avoidance, rumination, and relationship rumination. Finally, the higher the levels of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance the higher the levels of the conflict styles of avoidance, interactional reactivity, separation, domination and submission, and the lower the levels of relationship satisfaction. Performing a mediation analyses they discovered that mindfulness and rumination mediated the negative relationship between attachment insecurity and negative conflict styles, such that the higher the levels of attachment insecurity the lower the levels of mindfulness and the higher the levels of rumination which, in turn, were associated with higher levels of negative conflict styles.

 

It should be noted that this study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Also, only relatively young college students were employed which limits the generalizability of the results. Nevertheless, the study suggests thar insecure attachment is related to poor conflict styles and that relationship occurs because of insecure attachment’s relationships with higher rumination and lower mindfulness.

 

It can be speculated that being mindful in a relationship leads to less worry and rumination and to better ability to deal with conflict. It can also be speculated that having attachment insecurity tends to disrupt this relationship. All in all, it may be that mindfulness can improve relationships, reducing conflict.

 

So, attachment insecurity lowers mindfulness and increases rumination which heightens conflict.

 

“Mindfulness skills have been shown to help with conflict management by decreasing self-centered focus, allowing for more collaborative dialogue, breaking the vicious cycle of automatic thoughts/feelings/behaviors that contribute to unproductive conversations, increasing emotional awareness of self and others, which promotes connection and understanding, strengthening attention and non-judgmental awareness, which can foster flexible and innovative problem-solving.” – Taylor Rush

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Quickert, R. E., & MacDonald, T. K. (2020). Being in the Moment So You Can Keep Moving Forward: Mindfulness and Rumination Mediate the Relationship between Attachment Orientations and Negative Conflict Styles. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(18), 6472. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186472

 

Abstract

Attachment insecurity has been associated with negative behaviors during conflict and decreased relationship satisfaction. We theorize that individuals high in attachment anxiety and/or avoidance are less mindful during conflict with their romantic partners, and thus more likely to ruminate. Decreased mindfulness and higher levels of rumination may be important mechanisms in the relationship between attachment insecurity and conflict behavior, as it may be more difficult to engage in constructive problem-solving skills when one is distracted from the present moment. We conducted an online survey assessing 360 participants’ attachment orientations, levels of mindfulness and rumination, behavior during conflict, and experience with mindfulness activities. Using a serial mediation model, we found that mindfulness and rumination mediated the relationship between attachment insecurity and negative conflict behaviors. We further discovered that individuals high in attachment insecurity were more likely to report negative experiences with mindfulness activities (i.e., meditation and yoga), and that this relationship was mediated by higher levels of experiential avoidance, or a fear of engaging with one’s own thoughts and feelings. We discuss the importance of increasing mindfulness and decreasing both rumination and experiential avoidance to assist individuals high in attachment insecurity in navigating relationship conflict using more constructive and relationship-promoting strategies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559327/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Health of Arab Teachers

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Health of Arab Teachers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“thousands of schools across the country that is bringing mindfulness into the classroom. Growing numbers of teachers, parents, and children are reaping the benefits that learning mindfulness—can bring, including reduced levels of stress and anxiety, increased focus and self-regulation, and improved academic performance and sleep, among others.” – Caren Osten Gerszberg

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years. Hence, methods of reducing stress and improving teacher psychological health needs to be studied.

 

Mindfulness techniques are gaining increasing attention for the treatment of the symptoms of stress and burnout. They have been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments including schools. But there are very few studies of the effects of mindfulness training for teachers cultures other than western and oriental and virtually none in Arab cultures.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention Among Arab Teachers Are Mediated by Decentering: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.542986/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A ) Berkovich-Ohana and colleagues recruited Arab elementary school teachers from 2 different schools. The teachers in one school underwent a 30-hour 3-month mindfulness training program tailored for teachers while the teacher in the other underwent a 30-hour 6-month training program on teaching for understanding. The teachers were measured before and after the training programs for perceived stress, decentering, rumination, emotion regulation, including cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression subscales, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the mindfulness group significantly increased in mindfulness and emotion regulation compared to baseline while the control group significantly decreased in mindfulness and emotion regulation. They also found that the mindfulness group had significant increases in decentering and decreases in perceived stress while the control group did not. In addition, while both groups significantly decreased in rumination, the mindfulness group had a significantly greater decrease.

 

Mindfulness training has been well established in western and oriental cultures to produces increased emotion regulation and decentering and decreased rumination and perceived stress. The present results extend these findings to Arab teachers. This leads to the conclusion that mindfulness training is beneficial for the psychological health of teachers regardless of culture. Mindfulness training appears to be helpful in lowering the stress levels of school teachers generally. Although not measured in the present study it would be expected that this would lead to decreased burnout and better classroom performance by the teachers.

 

So, mindfulness improves the psychological health of Arab teachers.

 

Practicing mindfulness can help teachers to recognize our emotional patterns and proactively regulate how we behave, responding in the way we want to rather than reacting automatically. It can also help us to savor the positive moments in our job—when we feel the joy of true connection with our students or resonate with the joy and excitement our students feel when learning clicks for them.” – Patricia A. Jennings 

 

 

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

 

Berkovich-Ohana A, Lavy S and Shanboor K (2020) Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention Among Arab Teachers Are Mediated by Decentering: A Pilot Study. Front. Psychol. 11:542986. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.542986

 

Although mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in education are widely spreading in the world, examination of mindfulness effects in Arab schools is still scarce. This pilot study aimed to fill this gap by examining the effects of an MBI among Arab teachers in Israel. This examination was conducted within the framework of the mindful self in school relationships (MSSR) model, which suggests that the positive effects of MBI on teachers’ emotion regulation are mediated by decentering. The participants (N = 39) were teachers from two Arab elementary schools in Israel, who underwent an MBI course (the MBI condition, N = 20) and another cognitive intervention (the control condition, N = 19). In a pre–post design, participants completed mindfulness, decentering, emotion regulation, and stress questionnaires. We hypothesized that (1) only in the MBI group, teachers’ mindfulness, decentering, and emotional regulation will increase and stress will decrease, and (2) changes in teachers’ decentering would mediate the associations of changes in teachers’ mindfulness with changes in their emotion regulation. ANOVA analyses show that, only in the MBI condition, teachers showed an increase in three mindfulness subscales (acting with awareness, non-reactivity, and observance), in decentering, and in adaptive emotion regulation (reappraisal) and a decrease in stress. Furthermore, changes from pre-intervention to post-intervention in teachers’ decentering mediated the associations of their pre–post changes in mindfulness with changes in emotion regulation. This study provides initial support to the feasibility and efficacy of MBI among Israeli Arab teachers and suggests decentering as a potential mediator of its effects in initial support of the MSSR model.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.542986/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A

 

Reduce the Risk of Major Depression Relapse with Mindfulness

Reduce the Risk of Major Depression Relapse with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

a growing body of research is pointing to an intervention that appears to help prevent relapse by altering thought patterns without side effects: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT.” – Stacy Lu

 

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.

 

Relapsing into depression 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 is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior.

 

There has been considerable research demonstrating that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is effective in treating depression.  In today’s Research News article “The effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on risk and protective factors of depressive relapse – a randomized wait-list controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275325/), Schanche and colleagues investigate the ability of  MBCT to reduce risk factors associated with relapse in patients with major depressive disorder.

 

They recruited adult patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder who had at least 3 depressive episodes and who were currently in remission. They were randomly assigned to be on a wait list or to receive 8 weekly 2-hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after training for rumination, emotion regulation, anxiety, self-compassion, mindfulness, and depression.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significant reductions in rumination, anxiety, emotional reactivity to stress and depression and significant increases in emotion regulation, self-compassion and mindfulness. Hence, MBCT significantly improved the psychological well-being of these patients.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) produces a reduction in the types of negative emotional symptoms that could promote a depressive relapse and an increase in factors that could promote resistance to relapse especially the ability to effectively cope with their emotions and compassion for themselves. Mindfulness training has been repeatedly shown in the past to reduce rumination, anxiety, emotional reactivity to stress and depression and increase emotion regulation and self-compassion. The present study demonstrates that these benefits occur in patients in remission from major depressive disorder. This suggests that MBCT is effective in improving the major depressive disorder patients psychological state in a way that suggests that they would be resistant to relapse in the future.

 

So, reduce the risk of major depression relapse with mindfulness.

 

MBCT and CT attempt to reduce the risk of relapse by promoting different skill sets. CT promotes challenging dysfunctional thinking and increasing physical activity level. MBCT promotes nonjudgmental monitoring of moment-by-moment experience, and decentering from thoughts or seeing thoughts as transient mental phenomena and not necessarily valid.” – American Mindfulness Research Association

 

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

 

Elisabeth Schanche, Jon Vøllestad, Endre Visted, Julie Lillebostad Svendsen, Berge Osnes, Per Einar Binder, Petter Franer, Lin Sørensen. The effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on risk and protective factors of depressive relapse – a randomized wait-list controlled trial. BMC Psychol. 2020; 8: 57. Published online 2020 Jun 5. doi: 10.1186/s40359-020-00417-1

 

Abstract

Background

The aim of this randomized wait-list controlled trial was to explore the effects of Mindfulness–Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on risk and protective factors for depressive relapse within the domains of cognition, emotion and self-relatedness.

Methods

Sixty-eight individuals with recurrent depressive disorder were randomized to MBCT or a wait-list control condition (WLC).

Results

Completers of MBCT (N = 26) improved significantly on measures assessing risk and protective factors of recurrent depression compared to WLC (N = 30) on measures of rumination (d = 0.59, p = .015), emotion regulation (d = 0.50, p = .028), emotional reactivity to stress (d = 0.32, p = .048), self-compassion (d = 1.02, p < .001), mindfulness (d = 0.59, p = .010), and depression (d = 0.40, p = .018). In the Intention To Treat sample, findings were attenuated, but there were still significant results on measures of rumination, self-compassion and depression.

Conclusions

Findings from the present trial contribute to evidence that MBCT can lead to reduction in risk factors of depressive relapse, and strengthening of factors known to be protective of depressive relapse. The largest changes were found in the domain of self-relatedness, in the form of large effects on the participants’ ability to be less self-judgmental and more self-compassionate.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275325/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Functional Impairment and Avoidance in Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Functional Impairment and Avoidance in Major Depressive Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

People at risk for depression are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves and this can easily slide into a depressive relapse. MBCT helps them to recognize that’s happening, engage with it in a different way and respond to it with equanimity and compassion.” – Willem Kuyken

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating, impairing the ability of the patients to effectively conduct their lives. 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 is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. Behavioral activation involves engaging with what is going on in the present moment and is thought to help with depression while avoiding symptoms and ruminating tend to exacerbate the depression. There is little data, however, of the interplay of activation and mindfulness in patients with major depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Roles of Trait Mindfulness in Behavioral Activation Mechanism for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202344/), Takagaki and colleagues had adult patients with major depressive disorder complete questionnaires designed to measure behavioral activation for depression including subscales measuring activation, avoidance/rumination, work/school impairment, and social impairment; mindfulness including subscales measuring describe, observe, act with awareness, nonreactivity, and non-judging; depression; and disability.

 

They found that the greater the level of depression the greater the level of disability, avoidance/rumination, and mindful observing and the lower the levels of mindful describing, acting with awareness, nonreacting and non-judging. Similarly, they also found that the higher the levels of avoidance/rumination the greater the levels of depression, disability, and mindful observing and the lower the levels of mindful describing, acting with awareness, nonreacting and non-judging. Structural equation modelling revealed that mindful acting with awareness, nonreacting and non-judging was directly negatively related to avoidance/rumination which was in turn positively related to disability. In addition, mindful acting with awareness and nonreacting were directly negatively related to disability.

 

These results are correlative and caution must be taken in making causal inferences. Nevertheless, the results suggest that the degree of disability/impairment in patients with major depressive disorder is directly and indirectly associated with mindfulness with avoidance/rumination as an intermediary. That is, avoidance of a negative aversive state and engagement in rumination rather than active problem-solving to some extent mediates the association of mindfulness with lower levels of impairment in life. Hence, mindfulness is related to the patient’s ability to better conduct their life and it does so directly and indirectly by being associated with less avoidance of psychological pain and less rumination.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with lower functional impairment and avoidance in major depressive disorder.

 

Mindfulness training can “generate positive emotions by cultivating self-compassion and self-confidence through an upward spiral process, although behavioral activation is action oriented while mindfulness emphasizes the acceptance and awareness of present moment emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations, the two can be complementary.” _ Amanda MacMillan

 

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

 

Takagaki, K., Ito, M., Takebayashi, Y., Nakajima, S., & Horikoshi, M. (2020). Roles of Trait Mindfulness in Behavioral Activation Mechanism for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 845. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00845

 

Abstract

Behavioral activation and mindfulness have both been shown to engender improvement of functional impairment in patients with major depressive disorder. In behavioral activation, the practice of engaging with the direct experience of the present moment is central, especially when targeting avoidance. Consequently, mindfulness affects changes of avoidance in behavioral activation. This study was designed to assess exploratory relations among trait mindfulness, avoidance, and functional impairment in behavioral activation mechanism for depression. For 1042 participants with depression only or for depression with anxiety disorders, we used structural equation modeling to examine relations among trait mindfulness, avoidance, and functional impairment. Trait mindfulness non-reactivity, non-judging, and acting with awareness had a direct negative effect on avoidance. Trait mindfulness non-reactivity, trait non-judging, and trait acting with awareness had indirect negative effects on functional impairment. Results show that each trait mindfulness facet exhibited a distinct pattern of relations with avoidance and impairment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202344/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Greater Prosocial Behavior and Lower Rumination

Mindfulness is Associated with Greater Prosocial Behavior and Lower Rumination

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

With mindfulness, people deeply experience the present feelings with clarity and emotionally calm, and thus prevents them from suppression or rumination.” – Ying Yang

 

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.

 

Worry (concern about the future) and rumination (repetitive thinking about the past) are associated with mental illness, particularly anxiety and depression. Fortunately, worry and rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness and emotion regulation improved by mindfulness. But there has been little study of the relationships between mindfulness, prosocial behaviors and rumination.

 

In today’s Research News article “Prosocial Behavior Can Moderate the Relationship Between Rumination and Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7180177/),  Meng and Meng recruited adults high in rumination and low in rumination and asked them to evaluate what actions that they might take in a number of situations. They randomly assigned half of each group to work with situations that evoked either helping others (prosocial behavior) and the other half to work with neutral situations that didn’t involve helping. They were measured before and after the task for mindfulness and rumination. In a second study they recruited undergraduate students and had them complete questionnaires measuring mindfulness, rumination, and prosocial tendencies.

 

In the first study they found that overall, those participants high in rumination had significantly lower mindfulness than those low in rumination. They also found that the group working with helping situations had a significantly greater increase in mindfulness after the task than those working with the neutral situations and this effect was greatest in participants high in rumination.

 

In the second study they found that the higher the levels or all aspects of rumination the lower the levels of mindfulness. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the tendencies for prosocial behavior. Finally, they performed a moderation analysis and found that those participants high in prosocial tendencies had greater reductions in mindfulness produced by the reflective pondering aspect of rumination than the participants low in tendencies for prosocial behavior.

 

Overall, they found that rumination was associated with lower levels of mindfulness. This is not surprising as rumination involves repetitive thinking about past and future events that is incompatible with present moment awareness, mindfulness. In addition, they found that working on tasks that demanded helping behavior tended to increase mindfulness especially when rumination was high. Further they found that tendencies for prosocial behaviors were associated with higher levels of mindfulness. This suggests that prosocial behavior and mindfulness are significantly related and that evoking thinking about prosocial behavior tends to make the individual more mindful.

 

Although many aspects of this study were correlative and do not indicate causal relationships, it is clear that mindfulness and prosocial behavior are positively related and that rumination interferes with this relationship. They also suggest that engaging in prosocial behavior helps make people who ruminate a lot to be more mindful.

 

Previous research has shown that training in mindfulness increases the tendency to engage in prosocial behavior. This study turns the tables and demonstrates that engaging in prosocial behaviors increases mindfulness. All of which suggests that being aware of what’s going on in the present moment makes the individual more likely to see what others may need and that tending to the needs of others evokes present moment awareness.

 

Mindfulness is associated with greater prosocial behavior and lower rumination.

 

mindfulness meditation training increases compassionate prosocial behaviors.” – J. David Cresswell

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

 

Meng, Y., & Meng, G. (2020). Prosocial Behavior Can Moderate the Relationship Between Rumination and Mindfulness. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 289. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00289

 

Abstract

Objective

Rumination, which is a coping style to distress, has become a common mode of thinking about mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Improving mindfulness is an effective way to help people cope with rumination. Individuals who had higher prosocial behaviors reported a high level of mindfulness. This study aimed to explore whether prosocial behavior helps individuals with high-level rumination improve their mindfulness, and explain the reason why prosocial behavior can influence the relationship between mindfulness and rumination.

Methods

Introducing prosocial behavior situations, the first study chose 51 high-level rumination and 53 low-level rumination participants and measured the influence of prosocial behavior on mindful attention awareness in the present moment. In the second study, a questionnaire was conducted among 261 participants to explore the moderating effect of prosocial behavior between rumination and mindfulness.

Results

In individuals with high-level rumination, ΔMAAS (mindful attention awareness scale) (posttest-baseline) scores in the prosocial behavior condition were significantly higher compared to those in the control condition (p=0.003). Meanwhile, prosocial behavior played a moderating effect between reflective pondering of rumination and mindfulness (R2 = 0.03, p=0.004).

Conclusions

Encouraging prosocial behavior is an effective way to improve mindfulness in highly ruminative individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7180177/

 

Improve Self-Compassion with Psychophysiological Flexibility and Mindfulness

Improve Self-Compassion with Psychophysiological Flexibility and Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—to acknowledge our shortcomings, learn from them, and make necessary changes with an attitude of kindness and self-respect.” – Greater Good Science Center

 

One of the more remarkable aspects of Western culture is that in general people do not like themselves. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and since there can only one best, virtually everyone falls short. So, we constantly criticize ourselves for not being the smartest, the swiftest, the strongest, the most liked, the most handsome or beautiful. If there wasn’t something wrong with us, then we would be the best. As a result, we become focused and obsessed with our flaws. This can lead to anxiety and worry.

 

Mindfulness promotes experiencing and accepting ourselves as we are, which is a direct antidote to seeing ourselves in comparison to others and as we wish to be. In other words, mindfulness promotes self-compassion. Self-compassion involves being warm and understanding about ourselves rather than self-criticism. If we have that attitude, we will like ourselves more and suffer less. So, it is important to study the mindfulness and self-compassion and their relationships with the ability to regulate emotional arousal.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Dispositional Self-Compassion Associated With Psychophysiological Flexibility Beyond Mindfulness? An Exploratory Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1302118_69_Psycho_20200416_arts_A), Svendsen and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete scales measuring self-compassion, mindfulness, anxiety, and rumination. They also had their cardiac function measured at rest with an electrocardiogram (ECG). This was used to calculate the vagally mediated heart rate variability as a measure of psychophysiological flexibility. It measures the interplay between the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system, with higher heart rate variability signaling parasympathetic predominance, usually indicating relaxation.

 

Employing regression analysis, they found that the higher the levels of self-compassion the higher the levels of mindfulness and psychophysiological flexibility. They also found that both higher levels of mindfulness and also self-compassion the lower the levels of anxiety and rumination (worry). So, mindfulness is related to self-compassion and lower anxiety and rumination and self-compassion is related to mindfulness and psychophysiological flexibility and lower anxiety and rumination.

 

The findings are correlative and as such causation cannot be determined. But they show that mindfulness is significantly related to self-compassion and both are related to better mental health. In prior manipulative studies, it has been demonstrated that mindfulness causes increased self-compassion and decreased anxiety and rumination. So, the present results likely reflect causal connections.

 

The results also demonstrated that self-compassion has the strongest relationship with psychophysiological flexibility suggesting that self-compassion is related to the ability to regulate emotional arousal. It is this ability that may underlie the lower levels of anxiety and rumination found with high levels of self-compassion. Hence, mindfulness and self-compassion are important components of the mental health of young adults.

 

So, improve self-compassion with psychophysiological flexibility and mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness increases empathy and compassion for others and for oneself, and that such attitudes are good for you. To me, that affirms that when we practice mindfulness, we are simultaneously strengthening our skills of compassion.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

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

 

Svendsen JL, Schanche E, Osnes B, Vøllestad J, Visted E, Dundas I, Nordby H, Binder P-E and Sørensen L (2020) Is Dispositional Self-Compassion Associated With Psychophysiological Flexibility Beyond Mindfulness? An Exploratory Pilot Study. Front. Psychol. 11:614. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614

 

Abstract

Background: Dispositional mindfulness and self-compassion are shown to associate with less self-reported emotional distress. However, previous studies have indicated that dispositional self-compassion may be an even more important buffer against such distress than dispositional mindfulness. To our knowledge, no study has yet disentangled the relationship between dispositional self-compassion and mindfulness and level of psychophysiological flexibility as measured with vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV). The aim was thus to provide a first exploratory effort to expand previous research relying on self-report measures by including a psychophysiological measure indicative of emotional stress reactivity.

Methods: Fifty-three university students filled out the “Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire” (FFMQ) and the “Self-Compassion Scale” (SCS), and their heart rate was measured during a 5 min resting electrocardiogram. Linear hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the common and unique variance explained by the total scores of the FFMQ and the SCS on level of resting vmHRV.

Results: Higher SCS total scores associated significantly with higher levels of vmHRV also when controlling for the FFMQ total scores. The SCS uniquely explained 7% of the vmHRV. The FFMQ total scores did not associate with level of vmHRV.

Conclusion: These results offer preliminary support that dispositional self-compassion associates with better psychophysiological regulation of emotional arousal above and beyond mindfulness

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1302118_69_Psycho_20200416_arts_A

 

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy gaining popularity in the treatment of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is also used to treat other conditions including depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, and substance use disorders.” – Deborah Glasofer

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/), Ruiz and colleagues recruited 6 adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and also depression. They received a 3 session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) protocol of 90, 60, and 60 minutes focused on repetitive negative thinking implemented at different times on a multiple baseline. They were measured weekly over the internet for emotional symptoms (a combination of anxiety, depression and perceived stress), worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, perseverative thinking, and valuing.

 

They found that all participants demonstrated no significant changes during the 5 or more weeks of the baseline period in emotional symptoms or worry. But once Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was provided all participants immediately demonstrated a precipitous decline in emotional symptoms, worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, and perseverative thinking that was maintained for 3 months. Effect sizes were very large and 5 of the 6 participants had clinically significant changes in emotional symptoms and worry.

 

It is well established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety, depression, perceived, stress, and worry. Nevertheless, the results of the present study are striking. Administration of a brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)  focused on repetitive negative thinking produced dramatic clinically significant improvements in the core symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression. The fact that this was accomplished in 3-sessions is important as it reduces the investment of therapists in treatment, reducing costs and improving the numbers of people being able to be treated. These findings suggest that this brief form of mindfulness-based therapy be implemented for anxiety and deprressive disorders.

 

So, improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

ACT helps you take action on your values, instead of letting your anxiety dictate your decisions and your days.” –  Margarita Tartakovsky

 

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

 

Ruiz, F. J., Luciano, C., Flórez, C. L., Suárez-Falcón, J. C., & Cardona-Betancourt, V. (2020). A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 356. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00356

 

Abstract

Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is a core feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. Recently, some studies have shown promising results with brief protocols of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focused on RNT in the treatment of emotional disorders in adults. The current study analyzes the effect of an individual, 3-session, RNT-focused ACT protocol in the treatment of severe and comorbid GAD and depression. Six adults meeting criteria for both disorders and showing severe symptoms of at least one of them participated in the study. A delayed multiple-baseline design was implemented. All participants completed a 5-week baseline without showing improvement trends in emotional symptoms (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale – 21; DASS-21) and pathological worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire; PSWQ). The ACT protocol was then implemented, and a 3-month follow-up was conducted. Five of the six participants showed clinically significant changes in the DASS-21 and the PSWQ. The standardized mean difference effect sizes for single-case experimental design were very large for emotional symptoms (d = 3.34), pathological worry (d = 4.52), experiential avoidance (d = 3.46), cognitive fusion (d = 3.90), repetitive thinking (d = 4.52), and valued living (d = 0.92 and d = 1.98). No adverse events were observed. Brief, RNT-focused ACT protocols for treating comorbid GAD and depression deserve further empirical tests.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/

 

Improve Adolescent Psychological Health with Mindfulness

Improve Adolescent Psychological Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It may be that mindfulness leads to an increase in self-compassion and a decrease in experiential avoidance. It may be selective attention — if you focus on your breath, you have less bandwidth to ruminate. There are a lot of factors that are operative and we’re just beginning to tease out and deconstruct them. It’s like tasting a soup with 10 spices. Is there one main ingredient or is the flavor a combination of things?” – Stuart Eisendrath

 

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.

 

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 emotional regulation. In addition, in adolescents it has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects Of Modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) On The Psychological Health Of Adolescents With Subthreshold Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6758632/), Zhang and colleagues recruited university students (aged 18-22 years) who scored high in depression but were not at clinically diagnosable levels. They were randomly assigned to receive either an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after training for depression, mindfulness, and rumination.

 

The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 1-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The participants are also encouraged to perform daily practice. The program was modified to be better targeted at adolescents. It instructed the adolescents on the application of mindfulness practices to everyday life, including experiencing the pleasant/sad moments in life, walking, sleeping, eating, breathing and exercising to keep the attitude of “mindfulness”.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control condition the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program produced large and significant decreases in depression and rumination and increases in mindfulness. Hence, the study demonstrated that a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) modified for adolescents is a safe and effective treatment to improve the psychological health of adolescents who had subclinical levels of depression.

 

It should be mentioned that the control condition did not include any activities and thus leaves open the possibilities of confounding by experimenter or participant bias or placebo effects. Also, the lack of a standard MBSR program for comparison to the modified program does not allow for a conclusion that the modifications produced an improved program. Nevertheless the results are encouraging that the modified MBSR program may be useful in relieving the suffering of the large numbers of adolescents with sub-clinical depression.

 

So, improve adolescent psychological health with mindfulness.

 

“It is well-documented that mindfulness helps to relieve depression and anxiety in adults.1-4 A small but growing body of research shows that it may also improve adolescent resilience to stress through improved cognitive performance and emotional regulation.” – Malka Main

 

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

 

Zhang, J. Y., Ji, X. Z., Meng, L. N., & Cai, Y. J. (2019). Effects Of Modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) On The Psychological Health Of Adolescents With Subthreshold Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 15, 2695–2704. doi:10.2147/NDT.S216401

 

Abstract

Background

Sub-threshold depression (SD) has been associated with impairments in adolescent health which increase the rate of major depression. Researchers have shown the effectiveness of mindfulness on mental health, however whether the traditional mindful skills were suitable for youngsters, it was not clear. This study investigated the effects of a tailed Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on their psychological state.

Methods

A double-blind, randomized controlled trial was carried out. 56 participants who met the inclusion criteria agreed to be arranged randomly to either the MBSR group (n=28) or the control group (n=28). Participants in MBSR group received a tailored 8-week, one time per week, one hour each time group intervention. The effectiveness of intervention was measured using validated scales, which including BDI-II, MAAS, RRS at three times (T1-before intervention; T2-after intervention; T3-three months after intervention). A repeated-measures analysis of variance model was used to analyze the data.

Results

The results showed significant improvements in MBSR group comparing with control group that depression level decreased after the 8-week intervention and the follow up (F =17.721, p < 0.00). At the same time, RRS score was significantly decreased at T2 and T3(F= 28.277, p < 0.00). The results also showed that MBSR promoted the level of mindfulness and the effect persisted for three months after intervention (F=13.489, p < 0.00).

Conclusion

A tailored MBSR intervention has positive effects on psychology health among SD youngsters, including decrease depression and rumination level, cultivate mindfulness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6758632/