Mindfulness training to reduce burnout in police officers (study protocol)

Trombka, Marcelo, et al., Study protocol of a multicenter randomized controlled trial of mindfulness training to reduce burnout and promote quality of life in police officers. BMC Psychiatry, 2018, vol. 18. no. 151, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1726-7. Full text.

Background. Police officers experience a high degree of chronic stress. Policing ranks among the highest professions in terms of disease and accident rates. Mental health is particularly impacted, evidenced by elevated rates of burnout, anxiety and depression, and poorer quality of life than the general public.

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, burnout and promote quality of life in a variety of settings, although its efficacy in this context has yet to be systematically evaluated. Therefore, this trial will investigate the efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention versus a waitlist control in improving quality of life and reducing negative mental health symptoms in police officers.


Cognitively-Based Compassion Training in breast cancer survivors

Gonzalez-Hernandez, E., et al. (2018). Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study. Integrative cancer therapies, 1534735418772095. Online 21 Apr 2018. Full text.

From the Abstract. Context. Breast cancer (BC) requires a significant psychological adaptation once treatment is finished. There is growing evidence of how compassion training enhances psychological and physical well-being, however, there are very few studies analyzing the efficacy of compassion-based Interventions on BC survivors.

Objective. To study the efficacy of the Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) protocol in a BC survivor sample on quality of life, psychological well-being, fear of cancer recurrence, self-compassion, and compassion domains and mindfulness facets. Furthermore, enrollment, adherence, and satisfaction with the intervention were also analyzed. . . .

Results. Accrual of eligible participants was high (77%), and the drop-out rate was 16%. Attendance to CBCT sessions was high and practice off sessions exceeded expectations). CBCT was effective in diminishing stress caused by FCR, fostering self-kindness and common humanity, and increasing overall self-compassion scores, mindful observation, and acting with awareness skillsets.

Conclusion. CBCT could be considered a promising and potentially useful intervention to diminish stress caused by FCR and enhance self-kindness, common humanity,

Self-management of Stage 2 Parkinson’s disease

Vandenberg, Brooke, E., et al. Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs for the self-management of Parkinson’s disease in Australia, Health Promotion Internationalhttps://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/day021.

Abstract. Despite emerging evidence suggesting positive outcomes of mindfulness training for the self-management of other neuro-degenerative diseases, limited research has explored its effect on the self-management of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

We aimed to characterize the experiences of individuals participating in a facilitated, group mindfulness-based lifestyle program for community living adults with Stage 2 PD and explore how the program influenced beliefs about self-management of their disease.

Our longitudinal qualitative study was embedded within a randomized controlled trial exploring the impact of a 6-week mindfulness-based lifestyle program on patient-reported function. The study was set in Melbourne, Australia in 2012–2013. We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants before, immediately after, and 6 months following participation in the program. Sixteen participants were interviewed prior to commencing the program. Of these, 12 were interviewed shortly after its conclusion, and 9 interviewed at 6 months.

Prior to the program, participants felt a lack of control over their illness. A desire for control and a need for alternative tools for managing the progression of PD motivated many to engage with the program. Following the program, where participants experienced an increase in mindfulness, many became more accepting of disease progression and reported improved social relationships and self-confidence in managing their disease.

Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs have the potential for increasing both participants’ sense of control over their reactions to disease symptoms as well as social connectedness. Community-based mindfulness training may provide participants with tools for self-managing a number of the consequences of Stage 2 PD.

Improving psychological symptoms of depression and stress in people with diabetes

Pearson, S., Wills, K., Woods, M. et al. Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Distress and HbA1c in People with Diabetes. Mindfulness (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0908-1

Abstract (excerpt). Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent chronic condition that is associated with a high degree of psychological distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel approach to delivering an intervention of mindfulness practice (IMP) to a patient population with a demonstrated need for psychological support.

The novel approach utilised a self-directed audio compact disc (CD) recording of mindfulness practice. In this randomised controlled trial, 67 participants with T2DM (mean age = 59.4), attending outpatient clinics, were randomised to an IMP (n = 31) or a control (n = 36) group.

Participants receiving the IMP reported significant reductions in depression and stress when compared with the control group. At the 12-week follow-up, there was an overall reduction in depression and stress in the IMP group relative to the control group.

The current study has shown that an easily accessible self-directed IMP was effective in improving psychological symptoms of depression and stress.

*IMP = intervention of mindfulness practice

Mindfulness-based psycho-education for people with schizophrenia

Chien, W., Bressington, D., Yip, A., & Karatzias, T. (2017). An international multi-site, randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based psychoeducation group programme for people with schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 47(12), 2081-2096. doi:10.1017/S0033291717000526. Full access. 

From the Abstract. Compared with treatment as usual (TAU) and conventional psychoeducation group (CPEG0), mindfulness-based psychoeducation group (MBPEG) improves remission and hospitalization rates of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders over 24 months.


Mindfulness and ADHD

Hoxhaj, E., et al., (2018). Mindfulness vs psychoeducation in adult ADHD: a randomized controlled trial. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-018-0868-4. Summary and References

From the Abstract:

BACKGROUND. Mindfulness training is a promising treatment approach in adult ADHD. However, there has not yet been a randomized controlled trial comparing mindfulness to an active control condition. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of a mindfulness training program (MAP) compared to structured psychoeducation (PE).

CONCLUSIONS. In the current study, MAP was not superior to PE regarding symptom reduction in adult ADHD. Both interventions, mindfulness meditation and PE, were efficacious in reducing symptom load in adult ADHD. Furthermore in exploratory post hoc tests the study provides evidence for a potential gender-specific treatment response in adult ADHD.

Online mindfulness-based intervention: feasibility and effectiveness

Cavanagh, K., et al. “A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Brief Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention in a Non-clinical Population: Replication and Extension.” Mindfulness, 2018, online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0856-1. Full text

From the Abstract. Building on previous research, this study compared the effects of two brief, online mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs; with and without formal meditation practice) and a no intervention control group in a non-clinical sample.

One hundred and fifty-five university staff and students were randomly allocated to a 2-week, self-guided, online MBI with or without mindfulness meditation practice, or a wait list control. Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, perseverative thinking and anxiety/depression symptoms within were administered before and after the intervention period. Intention to treat analysis identified significant differences between groups on change over time for all measured outcomes.

… Change in perseverative thinking was found to mediate the relationship between condition and improvement on perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptom outcomes. Contrary to our hypotheses, no differences between the intervention conditions were found. Limitations of the study included reliance on self-report data, a relatively high attrition rate and absence of a longer-term follow-up.

This study provides evidence in support of the feasibility and effectiveness of brief, self-guided MBIs in a non-clinical population and suggests that reduced perseverative thinking may be a mechanism of change. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of a mindfulness psychoeducation condition, without an invitation to formal mindfulness meditation practice. Further research is needed to confirm and better understand these results and to test the potential of such interventions.