Posted in mindfulness training, pilot study, pre and post survey, qualitative, self-compassion

For people with multiple sclerosis

Spitzer, Elizabeth, and Kenneth I. Pakenham. “Evaluation of a brief community‐based mindfulness intervention for people with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study.” Clinical Psychologist (2016). Abstract.

Objective. Mindfulness-based interventions can improve quality of life (QoL) in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS); however, the potential benefits of brief mindfulness group programs delivered in community settings have not been investigated with this population. This pilot study evaluated a brief (five-session) community-based group mindfulness program for PwMS.

Method. Participants were 23 PwMS recruited through Multiple Sclerosis Queensland, Australia. The study had a single intervention condition with pre-intervention, post-intervention and eight-week follow-up assessments. Primary outcomes were QoL, psychological distress and fatigue, and secondary outcomes were mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance.

Results. Analyses revealed improvements in psychological distress, perceived stress, the mental health QoL dimension, mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance. All participants agreed they would recommend the program to others with multiple sclerosis and most reported that the program was helpful and enjoyable. Qualitative data showed that participants gained in present moment awareness, coping skills, self-compassion, acceptance, support, and changed perspectives.

Conclusions. Results suggest that brief mindfulness interventions may improve psychological wellbeing in PwMS; however, a longer intervention period or programs that incorporate mindful movement activities may be needed to bring about improvements in physical health QoL dimensions and fatigue.

Posted in eating disorder, review

Weight-loss and health-related behaviors (review & analysis)

Ruffault, A., et al. (2016). The effects of mindfulness training on weight-loss and health-related behaviours in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Summary.

  • Mindfulness training has been related to the adoption of healthier behaviours.
  • We conducted a meta-analysis of RCTs testing mindfulness training for weight loss.
  • Mindfulness decreases binge and impulsive eating and increases physical activity.
  • No effects of mindfulness training on weight loss in adults with excess weight.
  • Study design is a major source of heterogeneity in study effects.
Posted in Loving-kindness meditation, pre and post survey, randomized controlled study

Loving-Kindness meditation for self-criticism

Shahar, Ben, et al. “A Wait‐List Randomized Controlled Trial of Loving‐Kindness Meditation Programme for Self‐Criticism.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, vol. 22, no. 4, 2015, pp. 346-356. Full text.

From the Abstract. Self-criticism is a vulnerability risk factor for a number of psychological disorders, and it predicts poor response to psychological and pharmacological treatments.

In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of a loving-kindness meditation (LKM) programme designed to increase self-compassion in a sample of self-critical individuals. Thirty-eight individuals with high scores on the self-critical perfectionism subscale of the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale were randomized to an LKM condition (n=19) or a waitlist condition (n=19).

Measures of self-criticism, self-compassion and psychological distress were administered before and immediately following the intervention. participants received the intervention immediately after the waiting period. Both groups were assessed 3 months post-intervention. … A follow-up … in both groups together (n=20) showed that these gains were maintained 3 months after the intervention.

These preliminary results suggest that LKM may be efficacious in alleviating self-criticism, increasing self-compassion and improving depressive symptoms among self-critical individuals

Posted in mindfulness, self-compassion

Health practitioners and self-compassion

Egan, H., Mantzios, M., & Jackson, C. (2016). Health Practitioners and the Directive Towards Compassionate Healthcare in the UK: Exploring the Need to Educate Health Practitioners on How to be Self-Compassionate and Mindful Alongside Mandating Compassion Towards Patients. Health Professions Education. Online Oct 4, 2016

Concerns have been periodically raised about care that lacks compassion in health care settings. The resulting demands for an increase in consistent compassionate care for patients have frequently failed to acknowledge the potentially detrimental implications for health care professionals including compassion fatigue and a failure to care for oneself.

This communication suggests how mindfulness and self-compassion may advance means of supporting those who care for a living and extends the call for greater compassion to include people working within a contemporary health care setting in the United Kingdom. The potential benefits for both health professionals and patients is implied, and may well help to create a healthier, more authentically compassionate environment for all.

Full text

Posted in mindfulness, mindfulness training, randomized controlled study, research

Significant reductions in rumination and loneliness

Thamboo, P. A. (2016). The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Feelings of Loneliness and Ruminative Thinking. MA thesis, The College at Brockport: State University of New York. Full text

From the Abstract: Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness.

Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized controlled trial … a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness.

Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre-intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms.

Posted in eating disorder, mindfulness meditation, randomized controlled study, Uncategorized

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.

Posted in Mindfulness-based Interventions, self-report, Uncategorized

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.