Bergen-Cico, D., Possemato, K., & Pigeon, W. (2014). Reductions in Cortisol Associated With Primary Care Brief Mindfulness Program for Veterans With PTSD. Medical care, 52, S25-S31. For the full text, go to Abstract and click on “View as pdf.”
From the Abstract. Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have significant medical morbidity, which may be mediated by hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) dysfunction and reflected in cortisol output. Many veterans with PTSD are hesitant to engage in trauma-focused exposure treatments; therefore briefer, non–exposure-based treatments are needed; one such promising approach is an abbreviated Primary Care brief Mindfulness Program (PCbMP).
Objective: This study investigated the relationship between dose-response to participation in a veterans PCbMP program and diurnal cortisol. Cortisol reflects HPA function and PTSD is associated with HPA dysregulation.
Design: Forty veterans (90% men) with PTSD were identified in primary care and randomly assigned to treatment as usual, or participation in brief 4-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.
Results: Analyses revealed that significant changes in cortisol were associated with PCbMP treatment engagement and dosing (number of mindfulness program sessions completed). Veterans completing 4 mindfulness-based meditation sessions significantly reduced their cortisol awakening response; and had significant changes in cortisol area under the curve increase compared with TAU participants.
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.
Seligowski, A. V., Miron, L. R., & Orcutt, H. K. (2014). Relations Among Self-Compassion, PTSD Symptoms, and Psychological Health in a Trauma-Exposed Sample. Mindfulness, 1-9.
From the Abstract. Emerging literature on self-compassion suggests that establishing and maintaining a compassionate perspective toward oneself and one’s experiences may help buffer against the negative effects of trauma exposure, such as psychopathology and reduced quality of life.
The goal of the current study was to examine relations among self-compassion, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, and overall psychological health in a sample of trauma-exposed university students. Further, the current study explored these associations while controlling for a theoretically related construct, psychological inflexibility. Participants were 453 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a large Midwestern University (M age = 19.75).
Results demonstrate that increasing levels of self-compassion may represent an important area of intervention for trauma-exposed individuals.