Association between mindfulness and disinhibited eating

Sala, Margarita, and Cheri A. Levinson. “A Longitudinal Study on the Association Between Facets of Mindfulness and Disinhibited Eating.” Mindfulness, 2016, pp. 1-10, DOI: 10.1007/s12671-016-0663-0. 

From the abstract. Disinhibited eating (i.e., emotional and external eating), as well as associated features such as binge eating, bulimic symptoms, and eating concern are inversely associated with the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness, observing, and non-reactivity. However, it is unclear whether higher mindfulness is a precursor to lower disinhibited eating behaviors and symptoms or whether lower disinhibited eating behaviors and symptoms are a precursor to higher mindfulness (or both).

The current study examined if acting with awareness, non-reactivity, and observing (describing and non-judging were not assessed) prospectively predicted several disinhibited eating features (emotional eating, external eating, bulimic symptoms, binge eating, and eating concern) and vice-versa across 6 months. Young adult women (N = 300) completed measures of these constructs at baseline and 6 months later. Non-reactivity inversely predicted binge eating and bulimic symptoms across 6 months.

Mindful­ness to address transdiagnostic mental processes

Greeson, J. M. (2015). Transtherapeutic Mindfulness. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 21(3). Full Text.

From the Abstract: Mindfulness is a natural quality of awareness characterized by attending to the present moment, nonjudgmentally, and without reacting to negative thoughts or negative emotions im­plicated in mood disorders and other psychiatric conditions.

A relatively new clinical perspective suggests that, by specifi­cally targeting transdiagnostic processes that are shared across numerous mental disorders—such as negative thinking, the tendency to experience negative affect, and emotional reac­tivity—mindfulness training offers a viable approach to treat­ing mood disorders and a number of common, stress-related comorbidities, including sleep disturbance, chronic pain, and substance misuse. Therefore, as a clinician, using mindful­ness to address transdiagnostic mental processes that underlie mood symptoms can be quite efficient and therapeutic. . . .

Finally, research suggests that different mindfulness prac­tices, such as mindful breathing, sitting meditation, body scan, mindful yoga, and loving kindness, can produce differ­ent effects on transdiagnostic outcome measures, allowing a clinician to move toward personalized mindfulness prac­tices based on each patient’s individual needs, symptoms, and preference.

Moderating effect on emotional distress in Diabetes patients

van Son, J., et al. (2014). The association between mindfulness and emotional distress in adults with diabetes: Could mindfulness serve as a buffer? Results from Diabetes MILES: The Netherlands. Journal of behavioral medicine, 1-10.

From the Abstract. People with diabetes have a higher risk of emotional distress (anxiety, depression) than non-diabetic or healthy controls. Therefore, identification of factors that can decrease emotional distress is relevant. The aim of the present study was to examine (1) the association between facets of mindfulness and emotional distress; and (2) whether mindfulness might moderate the association between potential adverse conditions (stressful life events and comorbidity) and emotional distress.

Analyses were conducted using cross-sectional data: 666 participants with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) completed measures of mindfulness, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed significant associations between mindfulness facets (acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reacting) and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

These mindfulness facets appeared to have a moderating effect on the association between stressful life events and depression and anxiety. However, the association between co-morbidity and emotional distress was largely not moderated by mindfulness. In conclusion, mindfulness is negatively related to both depression and anxiety symptoms in people with diabetes and shows promise as a potentially protective characteristic against the influence of stressful events on emotional well-being.

Mindfulness and disgust in colorectal cancer scenarios

Reynolds, L. M., Consedine, N. S., & McCambridge, S. A. (2014). Mindfulness and disgust in colorectal cancer scenarios: Non-judging and non-reacting components predict avoidance when it makes sense. Mindfulness, 1-11.

From the Abstract. Mindfulness facilitates greater tolerance of unpleasant emotion and may thus promote better decision making in health settings where emotional avoidance is common. Disgust’s elicitors are common in colorectal cancer (CRC) contexts and, because disgust evolved to minimise contamination risk through avoidance and withdrawal, decision making when disgusted is important.

The current report investigated whether specific components of dispositional mindfulness predict elicited disgust and avoidance behaviours in scenarios based around CRC screening and treatment. After completing trait mindfulness measures, 80 healthy volunteers were block randomised (by gender) to disgust or control conditions before completing tasks assessing immediate avoidance of a disgust elicitor (stoma bag) and anticipated avoidance of a hypothetical CRC drug with disgusting side effects.

In total, these findings suggest persons with low mindfulness may fail to attend to emotional experience when making decisions while those higher in non-react and non-judge components may use their disgust to inform both current and future behaviour. Mindfulness training may promote more integrated decision-making skills in CRC contexts where disgust is a factor.

Mindful parenting

Geurtzen, N., et al. (2014). Association Between Mindful Parenting and Adolescents’ Internalizing Problems: Non-judgmental Acceptance of Parenting as Core Element. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-12. From the Abstract:

Previous studies have showed that traditional parenting dimensions (e.g., responsiveness, behavioral control, psychological control, and autonomy support) are related to adolescents’ internalizing problems. The current study examined mindful parenting, a new approach to parenting based on the principles of mindfulness. Mindful parenting as operationalized in the present study consisted of six dimensions: listening with full attention, compassion for the child, non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning, emotional non-reactivity in parenting, emotional awareness of the child, and emotional awareness of self.

Results showed that of the six mindful parenting dimensions, only the dimension non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning was significantly associated with adolescents’ internalizing problems. This means that children of parents who reported higher levels of non-judgmental acceptance of their own functioning as a parent reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.

These findings indicate that in future parenting research and practices, it is relevant to take parental thoughts, feelings, and attitudes with regard to their own role as a parent into account when studying the association between parenting and adolescents’ internalizing problems.

Spousal mindfulness perceived as emotional support in patients with chronic pain

Williams, A. M., & Cano, A. (2013). Spousal Mindfulness and Social Support in Couples with Chronic Pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain. Epub ahead of print. Abstract.

Existing research has reported the correlation between patients’ psychological flexibility, of which mindfulness is a component, and their perceptions of the spouses’ support provision. It is quite likely that spouses’ mindfulness, in particular certain aspects of mindfulness, is also related to the support they provide to patients. The current study examined this issue.

Methods: The sample included 51 couples in which one partner had chronic pain. Patients and their spouses each completed a questionnaire that assessed three facets of their own mindfulness (i.e., non-reactivity, acting with awareness, non-judging). In addition, patients reported on their pain-related psychological flexibility, marital satisfaction, and perceptions of spousal support.

Results: Only one facet of patients’ mindfulness (i.e., non-reactivity) was related to their perceptions of their spouses as being emotionally responsive to them. Spouses’ non-judging and non-reactivity were negatively correlated with punishing spouse responses. In addition, spouses’ acting with awareness was positively correlated with patients’ reports of perceived partner responsiveness and instrumental support and negatively correlated with patients’ reports of punishing spouse responses, often over and above the contribution of patients’ own mindfulness or pain-related psychological flexibility.

Discussion: Spouses’ mindfulness, especially as it pertains to acting with awareness, was most consistently associated with patient perceptions of spousal support. These findings suggest that acting with awareness should be examined further including the possible contributions this type of mindfulness may make to healthy relationship behaviors in the context of pain.

Promising as a strategy to promote highschool teachers’ well-being

Frank, J. L., et al. (2013). The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Educator Stress and Well-Being: Results from a Pilot Study. Mindfulness. Abstract.

We assessed the effectiveness of an adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on educator stress and well-being. The study included 36 high school educators who participated in either an 8-week adapted MBSR program or a waitlist control group.

Results suggested that educators who participated in MBSR reported significant gains in self-regulation, self-compassion, and mindfulness-related skills (observation, nonjudgment, and nonreacting). Significant improvements in multiple dimensions of sleep quality were found as well. These findings provide promising evidence of the effectiveness of MBSR as a strategy to promote educator’s personal and professional well-being. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.