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ObjectivesMindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) promotes numerous psychological benefits, but few studies have identified for whom MBSR is most effective. The current study tested the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness invites more “room to grow” and, thus, predicts greater improvement during MBSR. Method We examined three facets of mindfulness (awareness, acceptance, decentering) among 131 MBSR participants prior to enrollment, to test the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness predicts greater improvements in perceived stress, positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) following MBSR. Results Lower acceptance and decentering predicted greater decreases in perceived stress. Higher awareness, acceptance, and decentering predicted greater increases in PA. Higher awareness predicted greater reductions in NA. Lower decentering predicted greater reductions in NA. Conclusion Findings partly supported the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness predicts greater improvement following MBSR and emphasize the importance of assessing multiple mindfulness facets given their unique, contrasting relations to outcomes.

Objectives: Mindfulness training may help seniors successfully manage the physical and psychological challenges of aging in a manner that reduces distress and promotes vitality. The purpose of this retrospective analysis is to evaluate the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training on mood states in older adults. Methods: The authors identified 141 older adults (>60 years) who completed MBSR training. All participants completed the Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMS-SF) at baseline and following 8 weeks of MBSR. Using paired t tests, the authors evaluated changes in mood following training in MBSR. In a subset analysis, the authors further examined the impact of MBSR training in individuals with the highest scores on depression and anxiety. Primary reasons cited for MBSR enrollment are also reported. Results: Overall emotional distress and all sub-scale mood measurements improved significantly following MBSR training. MBSR training resulted in >50% reduction in the number of older people reporting clinically significant depression and anxiety. Most enrolled in MBSR training to improve stress management skills. Discussion: MBSR training is a promising, group-based intervention for decreasing psychological distress in older adults. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm study findings.

Mindfulness is defined as paying attention in the present moment. We investigate the hypothesis that mindfulness training may alter or enhance specific aspects of attention. We examined three functionally and neuroanatomically distinct but overlapping attentional subsystems: alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring. Functioning of each subsystem was indexed by performance on the Attention Network Test (ANT; Fan, McCandliss, Sommer, Raz, & Posner, 2002). Two types of mindfulness training (MT) programs were examined, and behavioral testing was conducted on participants before (Time 1) and after (Time 2) training. One training group consisted of individuals naive to mindfulness techniques who participated in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course that emphasized the development of concentrative meditation skills. The other training group consisted of individuals experienced in concentrative meditation techniques who participated in a 1-month intensive mindfulness retreat. Performance of these groups was compared with that of control participants who were meditation naive and received no MT. At Time 1, the participants in the retreat group demonstrated improved conflict monitoring performance relative to those in the MBSR and control groups. At Time 2, the participants in the MBSR course demonstrated significantly improved orienting in comparison with the control and retreat participants. In contrast, the participants in the retreat group demonstrated altered performance on the alerting component, with improvements in exogenous stimulus detection in comparison with the control and MBSR participants. The groups did not differ in conflict monitoring performance at Time 2. These results suggest that mindfulness training may improve attention-related behavioral responses by enhancing functioning of specific subcomponents of attention. Whereas participation in the MBSR course improved the ability to endogenously orient attention, retreat participation appeared to allow for the development and emergence of receptive attentional skills, which improved exogenous alerting-related process.