Barriers to meditation among cancer family caregivers

Williams, A. L., Van Ness, P., Dixon, J., & McCorkle, R. (2012). Barriers to meditation by gender and age among cancer family caregivers. Nursing research, 61(1), 22.

From the Abstract. Despite solid basic science research supporting meditation’s physiologic benefits, meditation remains a marginalized practice for many Westerners; observational and descriptive studies indicate a spectrum of barriers to meditation practice.

A cross-sectional survey study was conducted of 150 family caregivers to adults with cancer visiting an outpatient chemotherapy center in Connecticut, United States. The primary outcome was the Determinants of Meditation Practice Inventory. Explanatory variables included demographic characteristics, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, Big Five Inventory, and Caregiver Reactions Assessment. Participants included 98 women and 52 men. Age range was 18–84 years (M = 52.3 years).

The highest frequency of barriers for both genders related to misconceptions about meditation.

Meditation and imagery therapy as intervention for dementia caregivers

Jain, F. A., Nazarian, N., & Lavretsky, H. (2014). Feasibility of Central Meditation and Imagery Therapy for dementia caregivers. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue.

Excerpts from the Abstract: Family dementia caregivers are at high risk of depression and burnout. We assessed the feasibility of Central Meditation and Imagery Therapy for Caregivers (CMIT-C), a novel 8-week group meditation and guided imagery group therapy program, for dementia caregivers reporting stress because of caregiving responsibilities. Ten participants completed the study. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia symptoms decreased, and mindfulness ratings improved with large effects.

CMIT-C is a feasible intervention for dementia caregivers. Results suggest that this therapeutic technique can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and increase levels of mindfulness. Early response to meditation practice predicted those with the greatest short-term benefits, and this may inform future studies of meditation. Larger controlled efficacy studies of CMIT-C for dementia caregivers are warranted.

Reduces stress and depression in family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients

Danucalov, M.A.D., et al. (2013). A Yoga and Compassion Meditation Program Reduces Stress in Familial Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, online. Full text.

From the Abstract: Familial caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit reduced quality of life and increased stress levels. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8-week yoga and compassion meditation program on the perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and salivary cortisol levels in familial caregivers.

A total of 46 volunteers were randomly assigned to participate in a stress-reduction program for a 2-month period (yoga and compassion meditation program—YCMP group, or an untreated group for the same period of time (control group). The levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and morning salivary cortisol of the participants were measured before and after intervention. The groups were initially homogeneous; however, after intervention, the groups diverged significantly. The YCMP group exhibited a reduction of the stress, anxiety, and depression levels, as well as a reduction in the concentration of salivary cortisol.

Our study suggests that an 8-week yoga and compassion meditation program may offer an effective intervention for reducing perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and salivary cortisol in familial caregivers.

Misconceptions prevent wider use among cancer caregivers

Williams, A-L., et al. (2012). Barriers to Meditation by Gender and Age Among Cancer Family Caregivers. Nursing Research, 61 (1), 22–27. Full text. Excerpts below.

Background: The most recent (U.S.) National Health Interview Survey (n = 23,393) found prevalence of use for meditation in the general adult population is approximately 9%. A large gender imbalance was noted in the Survey among users of mind-body therapies, including meditation, with 23.8% of women and 14.4% of men reporting use in the preceding year.

The purpose of this study was to examine whether barriers to meditation differ by gender and age among a sample of cancer family caregivers. Cancer family caregivers were chosen because they represent a highly stressed segment of the general population who would be likely to benefit from meditation practice. Of the estimated 65.7 million people who assume the role of family caregiver, approximately 4.6 million (7%) care for someone with cancer. Since more women than men currently practice meditation, it was hypothesized that women would identify fewer barriers to meditation than men.

Results: The highest frequency of barriers for both genders related to misconceptions about meditation.