Malboeuf-Hurtubise, Catherine, et al. “The Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Happiness: A Reflection on the Relevance of Integrating a Positive Psychology Framework within Mindfulness Research in Youth.” International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 2017, pp. 1-15. Full text.
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly implemented in school settings to alleviate psychological distress in elementary and high school students. Recently, authors have brought forward the fact that the focus and aims of MBIs in clinical settings are largely placed on reducing negative variables and symptoms associated to mental health disorders. Thus, these may not allow us to fully understand how and in which contexts MBIs can be useful in adult populations. As MBIs aim to help people bring focus to the present moment and awareness to all aspects of experience, both the positive and the negative, it appears relevant to study their potential to improve on positive variables, such as happiness.
This paper aims to engage in a reflection on the relevance of incorporating a positive psychology framework within MBI research in youth. Specifically, the importance of measuring the impact of MBIs on positive variables such as happiness are discussed.
Fisher, Naomi R., et al. “Dispositional mindfulness and reward motivated eating: The role of emotion regulation and mental habit.” Appetite, published online 21 Jul 2017.
From the Abstract. Evidence regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) for eating disorders, weight management and food craving is emerging and further studies are required to understand the underlying mechanisms of MBIs in these domains.
The current study was designed to establish the role of specific mechanisms underlying the putative relationship between mindfulness and reward motivated eating. We predicted that mindfulness would be negatively related to features of reward motivated eating and that this association would be mediated by emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking.
A cross-sectional survey measuring uncontrolled and emotional eating, mindfulness, emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking was completed by female and male meditators and non-meditators (N = 632). Lower levels of dispositional mindfulness were associated with difficulties in emotion regulation, habitual negative self-thinking and both emotional and uncontrolled eating.
Difficulties in emotion regulation significantly mediated the mindfulness-uncontrolled eating relationship. Habitual negative self-thinking significantly mediated the mindfulness-emotional eating relationship. Participants with meditation experience reported greater levels of dispositional mindfulness, fewer difficulties with emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking and reduced uncontrolled eating tendencies, compared to non-meditators.
The findings suggest that MBIs designed to change reward motivated eating and weight control should focus on emotion regulation and mental habits as underlying mechanisms.
Alkoby, Alon, et al. “Increased Support for Political Compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Following an 8-Week Mindfulness Workshop.” Mindfulness, first online March 31, 2017, pp. 1-9, DOI: 10.1007/s12671-017-0710-5.
Abstract. We examined whether it would reduce negative emotions and perceptions and lead to increased support for compromise in the context of prolonged intergroup conflict. We also examined the effect of an intervention that combines mindfulness with cognitive reappraisal
, a method that enhances emotion regulation.
Israeli students participated in a mindfulness course that either began in the winter semester (mindfulness group) or in the spring semester (control group). After the termination of the mindfulness course, all participants were invited to a laboratory session in which they were randomly assigned to either receive or not a short cognitive reappraisal training.
The results showed that after being presented with anger-inducing information related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, participants in the mindfulness condition only, the reappraisal condition only or the combined group (mindfulness and reappraisal), were more supportive of conciliatory policies compared to participants that received no mindfulness nor reappraisal training.
The increased support for conciliatory policies was mediated by a decrease in negative emotions in all groups, while in the mindfulness group, it was also mediated by reduction in negative perceptions. The combined impact of mindfulness and reappraisal did not reveal any additional effect.
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.
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.
Volanen, S. M., Hankonen, N., Knittle, K., Beattie, M., Salo, G., & Suominen, S. (2015). Building resilience among adolescents: First Results of a school-based mindfulness intervention. The European Journal of Public Health, 25(suppl 3), ckv168-056.
Excerpts. In Finland, 15–25% of adolescents suffer from mental health problems, and there is increasing concern over stress-related mental health problems. There is initial evidence that mindfulness (MF) interventions might hold some promise. For MF interventions to have the intended effects, it is critical that participants continue practice of MF after the program.
Results: 49% of students reported having practiced MF at home after six months. Overall, descriptive norms (i.e. beliefs about what their peers were doing) were the greatest predictor of MF practice. Students who continued practice of MF at home six months after the intervention reported the following benefits: better concentration in class (79%); better concentration on hobbies (76%); managing stress better (69%); coping better with difficult emotions (77%); sleeping better (79%); getting better grades in exams (75%); getting along better with friends (85%); and getting along better with family members (84%).