Significant reductions in rumination and loneliness

Thamboo, P. A. (2016). The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Feelings of Loneliness and Ruminative Thinking. MA thesis, The College at Brockport: State University of New York. Full text

From the Abstract: Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness.

Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized controlled trial … a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness.

Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre-intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms.

Anger, agression, mindfulness

Peters, J. R., et al. (2015), Anger Rumination as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Aggression: The Utility of a Multidimensional Mindfulness Model. Journal of Clinical Psychology. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22189. Published online ahead of inclusion in an issue. Abstract.

Objectives. Mindfulness training reduces anger and aggression, but the mechanisms of these effects are unclear. Mindfulness may reduce anger expression and hostility via reductions in anger rumination, a process of thinking repetitively about angry episodes that increases anger. Previous research supports this theory but used measures of general rumination and assessed only the present-centered awareness component of mindfulness. The present study investigated associations between various aspects of mindfulness, anger rumination, and components of aggression.

Method. The present study used self-report measures of these constructs in a cross-sectional sample of 823 students.

Results. Structural equation modeling revealed that anger rumination accounts for a significant component of the relationship between mindfulness and aggression, with the largest effect sizes demonstrated for the nonjudgment of inner experiences facet of mindfulness.

Conclusion. Nonjudgment and present-centered awareness may influence aggression via reduced anger rumination. The importance of examining mindfulness as a multidimensional construct is discussed.

Mindfulness and autism spectrum disorders

de Bruin, E. I., Blom, R., Smit, F. M., van Steensel, F. J., & Bögels, S. M. (2014). MYmind: Mindfulness training for Youngsters with autism spectrum disorders and their parents. Autism, 1362361314553279. Published online before printing.

From the Abstract. Despite the dramatic increase in autism spectrum disorder in youth and the extremely high costs, hardly any evidence-based interventions are available. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of mindfulness training for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, combined with Mindful Parenting training.

A total of 23 adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, referred to a mental health clinic, received nine weekly sessions of mindfulness training in group format. Their parents (18 mothers, 11 fathers) participated in parallel Mindful Parenting training. A pre-test, post-test, and 9-week follow-up design was used.Adolescents reported an increase in quality of life and a decrease in rumination, but no changes in worry, autism spectrum disorder core symptoms, or mindful awareness.

Although parents reported no change in adolescent’s autism spectrum disorder core symptoms, they reported improved social responsiveness, social communication, social cognition, preoccupations, and social motivation. About themselves, parents reported improvement in general as well as in parental mindfulness. They reported improved competence in parenting, overall parenting styles, more specifically a less lax, verbose parenting style, and an increased quality of life.

Improvements in rumination and emotional clarity

Caldwell, J. G., & Shaver, P. R. (2014). Promoting Attachment-Related Mindfulness and Compassion: a Wait-List-Controlled Study of Women Who Were Mistreated During Childhood. Mindfulness, 1-13. Abstract.

Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions contribute to a variety of positive outcomes in physical, cognitive, and affective domains. Less is known about how mindfulness influences variables associated with close interpersonal relationships.

The present study evaluated a novel mindfulness-based intervention for promoting cognitive-emotional processes that are underdeveloped in people who have experienced unhealthy attachment relationships. In a sample of women who were mistreated in childhood, baseline measures confirmed that attachment anxiety was related to rumination and negative emotion; attachment avoidance was related to emotion suppression and lack of emotional clarity; and both kinds of insecurity were related to emotion dysregulation and lower levels of mindfulness.

Across three measurement periods, a treatment group (N = 17), relative to a wait-list control group (N = 22), evinced significant improvements in the domains of rumination, emotion suppression, clarity of emotions, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. A multiple mediation analysis showed that, of these variables, improvements in rumination and emotional clarity mediated the gains in mindfulness for the treatment group. Also, participants in the treatment group showed significant changes in their use of mindfulness-based language when writing about stressful or traumatic childhood attachment experiences.

Taken together, the results suggest that the intervention led to increases in mindfulness, primarily due to decreased rumination and increased emotional clarity, and these treatment-related changes were specifically related to participants’ thoughts and emotions regarding attachment.

Mindfulness training improves psychological functioning in Grade 7-8 boys

Sibinga, E., Perry-Parrish, C., Chung, S. E., Johnson, S. B., Smith, M., & Ellen, J. M. (2013). School-based mindfulness instruction for urban male youth: A small randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine. In press – available online Sept. 8. Abstract.

Excerpt: 7th and 8th graders at a small school for low-income urban boys were randomly assigned to 12-session programs of MBSR or health education (HT). Data were collected at baseline, post-program, and three-month follow-up on psychological functioning; sleep; and salivary cortisol, a physiologic measure of stress.

Forty-one of the 42 eligible boys participated, of whom 95% were African American, with a mean age of 12.5 years. Following the programs, MBSR boys had less anxiety, less rumination, and showed a trend for less negative coping than HT boys. Comparing baseline with post-program, cortisol levels increased during the academic terms for HT participants at a trend level but remained constant for MBSR participants.

In this study, MBSR participants showed less anxiety, improved coping, and a possible attenuation of cortisol response to academic stress, when compared with HT participants. These results suggest that MBSR improves psychological functioning among urban male youth.


  • We conducted a trial of school-based mindfulness meditation vs. an active control.
  • Mindfulness meditation reduced anxiety for middle-school urban boys.
  • Mindfulness meditation improved coping for middle-school urban boys.
  • Compared with a control, mindfulness meditation improved psychological functioning.

Improves tendency to ruminate about anger episodes

Hirano, M., & Yukawa, S. (2013). [The impact of mindfulness meditation on anger]. Shinrigaku kenkyu: The Japanese journal of psychology, 84(2), 93-102. .

Abstract: This study explores the impact of mindfulness meditation on anger. A meditation group (N = 37) attended 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily for a week. They were assessed with self-report scales measuring three aspects of anger (rumination, arousal, and lengthiness) before, just after, and four weeks after their one-week participation. Their scores were compared to a control group (N = 27), which was assessed at the same intervals as the meditation group. The meditation group was also asked to evaluate their current mood using the Affect Grid before and after each meditation.

The results indicated that participants in the meditation group who continued meditation voluntarily after the week of their participation had decreased anger rumination scores just after and four weeks after their participation. Additionally, the pleasant score on the Affect Grid increased after meditation for almost all the participation days. These findings suggest the efficacy of mindfulness meditation on improving the tendency to ruminate about anger episodes in the medium-term to long-term, and also on improving mood in the short-term.

Rumination may adversely affect physical health

Jacobs, T.L., et al. (2013). Self-Reported Mindfulness and Cortisol During a Shamatha* Meditation Retreat. Health Psychology. Epublished ahead of print version.

From the Abstract: Cognitive perseverations that include worry and rumination over past or future events may prolong cortisol release, which in turn may contribute to predisease pathways and adversely affect physical health. Meditation training may increase self-reported mindfulness, which has been linked to reductions in cognitive perseverations.

*three-month meditation retreat in the Tibetan tradition