Wahbeh, H., & Nelson, M. (2018-9). iRest Meditation for Older Adults with Depression Symptoms: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, no. 29, doi: 10.17761/2019-00036. Full text.
Abstract. Older adults, a rapidly growing population in the United States, have fewer physiological reserves and are more likely to be affected by stress, making them especially susceptible to depression symptoms. Meditation offers promising potential as an effective treatment; however, few studies have evaluated meditation interventions for this demographic.
The objectives of this pilot study were to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an iRest meditation program in older adults with depression symptoms and to collect preliminary data on its effect on depression and depression-related symptoms compared to a vacation control.
The study occurred at the Institute of Noetic Sciences EarthRise Retreat Center and participants’ homes. Thirty generally healthy older adults, aged 55–90, with depression symptoms were recruited. Participants were randomly assigned to a 2-day retreat of either iRest meditation training or vacation. After the retreat, participants were asked to complete 20 minutes of home practice per day for 6 weeks; this consisted of either guided meditations (iRest) or music (vacation).
Data were collected pre- and post-retreat and then 6 weeks later. Measures included depression-related variables (expectancy, depression symptoms, perceived stress, resilience, pain, sleep quality, and spirituality) and biomarkers (voice stress analysis, heart rate, heart rate variability).
We found the iRest intervention for older adults with depression symptoms to be feasible and acceptable. Preliminary results at 6 weeks demonstrated improvements in sleep impairment in older adults compared to the control group and promising trends in improvements in depression symptoms and pain severity.
Tkatch, R., et al. “A Pilot Online Mindfulness Intervention to Decrease Caregiver Burden and Improve Psychological Well-Being.” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2017, 2156587217737204. Full text.
Abstract: Interventions to reduce caregiver burden are of great interest as the number of informal family caregivers continues to grow. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of an online mindfulness meditation intervention for community-dwelling older adult caregivers and to evaluate its impact on quality of life, caregiver burden, and psychological well-being. A total of 40 caregivers were recruited from 2 community center support groups to participate in an 8-week online mindfulness intervention.
Pre and post surveys were administered. Retention rates were high with 55% completing the post surveys and attending at least 5 out of 8 sessions. Matched pairs t test indicated that the intervention reduced caregiver burden, perceived stress, anxiety, and loneliness and improved mental well-being.
Online interventions offer flexibility for caregivers regardless of their responsibilities. Future research should expand this opportunity and explore the scalability of online mindfulness interventions.
Duarte, Cristiana, José Pinto‐Gouveia, and R. James Stubbs. “Compassionate Attention and Regulation of Eating Behaviour: A pilot study of a brief low‐intensity intervention for binge eating.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 2017, doi: 10.1002/cpp.2094, online 13 Jun 2017.
Abstract. A low-intensity 4-week intervention that included components of compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance was delivered to women diagnosed with binge eating disorder. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: intervention (n = 11) or waiting list control (n = 9).
Participants in the intervention condition were invited to practise mindfulness, soothing rhythm breathing, and compassionate imagery practices with a focus on awareness and acceptance of emotional states and triggers to binge eating and engagement in helpful actions.
Results revealed that, in the intervention group, there were significant reductions in eating psychopathology symptoms, binge eating symptoms, self-criticism, and indicators of psychological distress; there were significant increases in compassionate actions and body image-related psychological flexibility. Data suggest that developing compassion and acceptance competencies may improve eating behaviour and psychological well-being in individuals with binge eating disorder.
Kearney, D. J., McManus, C., Malte, C. A., Martinez, M. E., Felleman, B., & Simpson, T. L. (2014). Loving-Kindness Meditation and the Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Medical care, 52, S32-S38.
From the Abstract. Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a practice intended to enhance feelings of kindness and compassion for self and others.
Objectives: To assess whether participation in a 12-week course of LKM for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with improved positive emotions, decentering, and personal resources.
Design: In an open-pilot trial, 42 veterans with active PTSD (40% female ) were assessed at baseline, after the course, and 3 months later. Emotions, decentering, psychological wellbeing including autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and sense of social support were measured at each time point.
Conclusions: Overall, positive emotions increased, and enhancement of personal resources occurred over time. Further investigation of LKM for PTSD is warranted.
Chapin, H. L., Darnall, B. D., Seppala, E. M., Doty, J. R., Hah, J. M., & Mackey, S. C. (2014). Pilot study of a compassion meditation intervention in chronic pain. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 1(1), 1-12. Full Text.
The emergence of anger as an important predictor of chronic pain outcomes suggests that treatments that target anger may be particularly useful within the context of chronic pain. Eastern traditions prescribe compassion cultivation to treat persistent anger. Compassion cultivation has been shown to influence emotional processing and reduce negativity bias in the contexts of emotional and physical discomfort, thus suggesting it may be beneficial as a dual treatment for pain and anger.
Our objective was to conduct a pilot study of a 9-week group compassion cultivation intervention in chronic pain to examine its effect on pain severity, anger, pain acceptance and pain-related interference. We also aimed to describe observer ratings provided by patients’ significant others and secondary effects of the intervention. Twelve chronic pain patients completed the intervention (F = 10). Data were collected from patients at enrollment, treatment baseline and post-treatment; participant significant others contributed data at the enrollment and post-treatment time points.
In this predominantly female sample, patients had significantly reduced pain severity and anger and increased pain acceptance at post-treatment compared to treatment baseline. Significant other qualitative data corroborated patient reports for reductions in pain severity and anger.