Effects of Vipassana meditation on stress and well-being

Szekeres, R. A., & Wertheim, E. H. (2014). Evaluation of Vipassana Meditation Course Effects on Subjective Stress, Well‐being, Self‐kindness and Mindfulness in a Community Sample: Post‐course and 6‐month Outcomes. Stress and Health. Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue.

Abstract. Residential Vipassana meditation courses, which teach mindfulness skills, are widely available globally but under-evaluated. This study examined effects of a standardized, community-based Vipassana course, on subjective stress, well-being, self-kindness and trait mindfulness in a community sample. Participants completed self-report measures of these variables at pre-course and post-course (n = 122), and outcomes were compared to a control group of early enrollers (EEs) (n = 50) who completed measures at parallel time points before course commencement.Six-month follow-up was undertaken in the intervention group (n = 90).

Findings, including intention-to-complete analyses, suggested positive effects of the Vipassana course in reducing subjective stress and increasing well-being, self-kindness and overall mindfulness (present-moment awareness and non-reaction). Although some reductions in post-course gains were found at follow-up, particularly in stress, follow-up scores still showed improvements compared to pre-course scores. Mindfulness change scores between pre-course and 6-month follow-up were moderately to highly correlated with outcome variable change scores, consistent with the idea that effects of the Vipassana course on stress and well-being operate, at least partially, through increasing mindfulness.