Mindfulness and binge eating disorder

Randomized controlled trial of a 12-month computerized mindfulness-based intervention for obese patients with binge eating disorder: The MindOb study protocol. Full text. 

Background

Mindfulness-based interventions for healthy behaviors such as exercise and dietary modifications have aroused growing interest. This study aims to test the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for the reduction of impulsive eating and the improvement of motivation to exercise among obese individuals.

Methods

One-hundred and twenty obese outpatients, aged 18 to 65 years, diagnosed with a binge eating disorder, will be randomly assigned to one of the three following groups: mindfulness practice, sham meditation, or treatment as usual control. The tested intervention consists of a 1-year computerized mindfulness-based program. Mindfulness sessions are audio recordings that the patients are asked to listen to, 10 min every day. Self-reported questionnaires measuring impulsive eating, motivation to exercise, physical activity level, mood, and mindfulness skills are filled in at baseline, 1, 6, and 12 months. Physical activity, calories consumption, and biomarkers are measured with more objective measurement tools at baseline, 6 months and 12 months.

Conclusion

Mindfulness, as both a de-automation element and as a moderator of motivation to exercise, can lead to the reduction of impulsive eating and also to an increase in levels of physical activity. These effects could cause weight loss in obese patients suffering from binge eating disorder.

Reduction of depressive symptoms

Fissler, M., et al. (2016). An Investigation of the Effects of Brief Mindfulness Training on Self-Reported Interoceptive* Awareness, the Ability to Decenter, and Their Role in the Reduction of Depressive Symptoms. Mindfulness, 1-12.

Abstract. Mindfulness-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression are predicated on the idea that interoceptive awareness represents a crucial foundation for the cultivation of adaptive ways of responding to negative thoughts and mood states such as the ability to decenter.

The current study used a multi-dimensional self-report assessment of interoceptive awareness, including regulatory and belief-related aspects of the construct, in order to characterize deficits in interoceptive awareness in depression, investigate whether brief mindfulness training could reduce these deficits, and to test whether the training unfolds its beneficial effects through the above-described pathway.

Currently depressed patients (n = 67) were compared to healthy controls (n = 25) and then randomly allocated to receive either a brief training in mindfulness (per-protocol sample of n = 32) or an active control training (per-protocol sample of n = 28). Patients showed significant deficits across a range of regulatory and belief-related aspects of interoceptive awareness, mindfulness training significantly increased regulatory and belief-related aspects of interoceptive awareness, and reductions in depressive symptoms were mediated through a serial pathway in which training-related increases in aspects of interoceptive awareness were positively associated with the ability to decenter, which in turn was associated with reduced symptoms of depression. These results support the role of interoceptive awareness in facilitating adaptive responses to negative mood.

* interoceptive: relating to stimuli produced within an organism, especially in the gut and other internal organs. 

Stress obesity in children

Sato, A. F., & Fahrenkamp, A. J. (2016). From Bench to Bedside: Understanding Stress-Obesity Research Within the Context of Translation to Improve Pediatric Behavioral Weight Management. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 63(3), 401-423. Abstract.

KEY POINTS

  • Stress, including chronic stress and acute stress reactivity, is associated with pediatric obesity risk.
  • Stress has been associated with weight-related outcomes in basic research, yet translational research is needed to inform the development of pediatric behavioral weight control (BWC) trials.
  • Mechanisms through which mindfulness interventions may benefit weight management include reduction of stress, enhancing self-regulatory behaviors, and acceptance of discomfort.
  • There is a need for future pediatric BWC research examining mindfulness-based approaches, because these may be useful for decreasing the negative impacts of stress on weight management (eg, eating in response to stress).

Can compassion be defined and measured?

Strauss, C., Taylor, B. L., Gu, J., Kuyken, W., Baer, R., Jones, F., & Cavanagh, K. (2016). What is Compassion and How Can We Measure it? A Review of Definitions and Measures. Clinical Psychology Review. Full draft ahead of inclusion in an issue.

Highlights

  • Compassion is recognized as important across many sectors of society.
  • There is lack of consensus on definition and few self/observer-rated measures exist.
  • Five elements of compassion are proposed after consolidating existing definitions.
  • The psychometric properties of existing measures are poor, limiting their utility.
  • A new measure of compassion with robust psychometric properties is needed.

Cultivating teacher mindfulness

Crain, T. L., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). Cultivating Teacher Mindfulness: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial on Work, Home, and Sleep Outcomes. Full text ahead of inclusion in an issue.

From the abstract: The effects of randomization to a workplace mindfulness training (WMT) or a waitlist control condition on teachers’ well-being (moods and satisfaction at work and home), quantity of sleep, quality of sleep, and sleepiness during the day were examined in 2 randomized, waitlist controlled trials (RCTs).

The combined sample of the 2 RCTs, conducted in Canada and the United States, included 113 elementary and secondary school teachers (89% female). Measures were collected at baseline, postprogram, and 3-month follow-up; teachers were randomly assigned to condition after baseline assessment.

Results showed that teachers randomized to WMT reported less frequent bad moods at work and home, greater satisfaction at work and home, more sleep on weekday nights, better quality sleep, and decreased insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness.

Strengthening self-nature interconnectedness

Unsworth, S., Palicki, S. K., & Lustig, J. (2016). The Impact of Mindful Meditation in Nature on Self-Nature Interconnectedness. Mindfulness, 1-9.

Previous research has shown that mindfulness and spending time in nature are both related to perceived self-nature interconnectedness, with implications for environmental and psychological well-being.

… Results from pre- and post-trip surveys showed that the combined influence of mindful meditation in nature on self-nature interconnectedness is greater than nature exposure that does not include mindful meditation. One focus of the present research was to examine cognitive dimensions of nature connectedness, given that mindfulness meditation is based on cognitive processes such as selective attention.

… Together, the results from the present research suggest that mindful meditation in nature can be used to re-establish or strengthen concepts of self-nature interconnectedness nature for urban adults.

See Abstract for research design details.

Self-regulation of emotion in late childhood and adolescence

Deplus, S. et al. (online April 2016). A Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Enhancing Self-Regulation of Emotion in Late Childhood and Adolescence: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-16. Retrieved May 3, 2016.

From the abstract. Emotion dysregulation is strongly implicated in the development of psychological problems during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention for enhancing self-regulation of emotion in adolescents, adapted from Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy.

We studied the impact of the intervention on depressive symptoms, as well as on transdiagnostic psychological processes related to emotional regulation, namely impulsivity and ruminative thinking. Twenty-one participants aged between 11 and 19 years were offered a nine-session group intervention. …

The present findings provide preliminary support for a group intervention for adolescents characterized by emotion regulation difficulties, targeting transdiagnostic psychological processes (impulsivity and ruminative thinking). Furthermore, by potentially enhancing self-regulation skills, this intervention might constitute an effective method for general prevention of psychological disorders in late childhood and adolescence.