Loving-kindness meditation for veterans with PTSD

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.

Reduction in distress through brief mindfulness intervention

Sass, S.M., Berenbaum, H., & Abrams, E.M. (2013). Discomfort with emotion moderates distress reduction in a brief mindfulness intervention. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 7(4), 24-27. Full article.

Abstract: The goal of this study was to investigate moderators of mindfulness training. The present study employed a brief form of mindfulness training with moderately dis participants. Psychological distress was measured before and after a five-session mindfulness intervention. Two hypothesized moderators of treatment outcome, discomfort with emotion and mindfulness were measured before the intervention.

Consistent with previous research, the brief mindfulness intervention was associated with reductions in psychological distress with a large pre-post effect size. Importantly, reductions in distress were significantly moderated by discomfort with emotion. Individuals reporting the most discomfort with emotion showed less reduction in distress after the mindfulness intervention. Results highlight the importance of investigating moderators of mindfulness intervention outcome.

Reduces psychological stress responses and improves cognitive functions

Singh, Y., et al. (2012). Immediate and long-term effects of meditation on acute stress reactivity, cognitive functions, and intelligence. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 18(6), 46-53. Full abstract.

Objective: To study the effects of meditation on stress-induced changes in physiological parameters, cognitive functions, intelligence, and emotional quotients.

Participants: The participants were 34 healthy, male volunteers who were students.

Results: Induced stress from the computer game resulted in a significant increase in physiological markers of stress such as GSR and HR. In the short term, meditation was associated with a physiological relaxation response (significant decrease in GSR) and an improvement in scores on test of reaction times. In the long-term, meditation brought significant improvements in IQ and scores for cognitive functions, whereas participants’ stress levels (GSR and AS) decreased. EQ, salivary cortisol, and HR showed no significant changes.

Conclusions: The practice of meditation reduced psychological stress responses and improved cognitive functions, and the effects were pronounced with practice of meditation for a longer duration (1 month).