Perceptions of Mindfulness in a Low-Income, Primarily African American Treatment-Seeking Sample
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 1532 - 1543
Source ID: shanti-sources-69001
Collection: Mindfulness, Diversity, and Social Justice
Abstract: Individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES) and members of racial/ethnic minority groups often experience profound disparities in mental health and physical well-being. Mindfulness-based interventions show promise for improving mood and health behaviors in higher-SES and non-Latino White populations. However, research is needed to explore what types of adaptations, if any, are needed to best support underserved populations. This study used qualitative methods to gain information about (a) perceptions of mindfulness, (b) experiences with meditation, (c) barriers to practicing mindfulness, and (d) recommendations for tailoring mindfulness-based interventions in a low-income, primarily African American treatment-seeking sample. Eight focus groups were conducted with 32 adults (16 men and 16 women) currently receiving services at a community mental health center. Most participants (91%) were African American. Focus group data were transcribed and analyzed using NVivo 10. A team of coders reviewed the transcripts to identify salient themes. Relevant themes included beliefs that mindfulness practice might improve mental health (e.g., managing stress and anger more effectively) and physical health (e.g., improving sleep and chronic pain, promoting healthier behaviors). Participants also discussed ways in which mindfulness might be consistent with, and even enhance, their religious and spiritual practices. Results could be helpful in tailoring mindfulness-based treatments to optimize feasibility and effectiveness for low-SES adults receiving mental health services.