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Empirical studies have examined the construct of mindfulness for almost 40 years, and a conceptual definition of mindfulness has been continuously revised and clarified over this period. What we currently term mindfulness in the area of contemplative science, and the corresponding techniques of its cultivation, stem from Eastern introspective psychological practices, specifically Buddhist psychology, which made reference to the concept over 2,500 years ago. Mindfulness is a term stemming from the Pali language, whereby Sati is combined with Sampajana, and this term is translated to mean awareness, circumspection, discernment, and retention . These linguistic renderings have
We examined feasibility, acceptability, and benefits of a mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) intervention in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 318 low-income women in substance use disorder treatment (2003-2006). The study used a single group, repeated measures design. Participant satisfaction was high (M = 3.4, SD = .3), but completion was modest (36%). Linear regressions examining change in addiction severity and psychological functioning by dosage showed that higher dosage was associated with reduced alcohol (beta = -.07, p < .05), drug severity (beta = -.04, p < .05), and perceived stress (beta = -2.29, p < .05) at 12 months. Further research on MBRP efficacy for this population is warranted. The study's limitations are noted.
The cultivation of mindfulness as an approach to human perception through the practice of meditation has become an increasingly popular treatment for medical and psychological symptoms and as a topic of scientific investigation. Substance user programs are also increasingly embracing this treatment strategy as either a stand-alone therapeutic modality or a complement to ongoing treatment. In this article, I supply an introduction to the special theme issue concerning mindfulness and substance use intervention by first providing a brief historical account of the secular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program to introduce new readers to the more general topic of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), and to contextualize historical publishing trends observed in mindfulness research across the past four decades. I then examine the implications of MBIs for substance use, misuse, and addiction, especially in areas related to craving and suffering. To conclude, I outline the empirical and conceptual compendium of contributions offered in this special issue.
Mindfulness meditation represents a mental training framework for cultivating the state of mindful awareness in daily life. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in how mindfulness meditation improves human health and well‐being. Although studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can improve self‐reported measures of disease symptomatology, the effect that mindfulness meditation has on biological mechanisms underlying human aging and disease is less clear. To address this issue, we conducted the first comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials examining the effects of mindfulness meditation on immune system parameters, with a specific focus on five outcomes: (1) circulating and stimulated inflammatory proteins, (2) cellular transcription factors and gene expression, (3) immune cell count, (4) immune cell aging, and (5) antibody response. This analysis revealed substantial heterogeneity across studies with respect to patient population, study design, and assay procedures. The findings suggest possible effects of mindfulness meditation on specific markers of inflammation, cell‐mediated immunity, and biological aging, but these results are tentative and require further replication. On the basis of this analysis, we describe the limitations of existing work and suggest possible avenues for future research. Mindfulness meditation may be salutogenic for immune system dynamics, but additional work is needed to examine these effects.
This field intervention trial evaluated the effect of a 5-week mindfulness-based curriculum on teacher-ratings of student classroom behavior at a Richmond, CA public elementary school, and examined if the addition of more sessions provided added benefit to student outcomes. Seventeen teachers reported on the classroom behaviors of 409 children (83 % enrolled in a California free lunch program and 95.7 % ethnic minority) in kindergarten through sixth grade at pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, and 7 weeks post-intervention. Results showed that teachers reported improved classroom behavior of their students (i.e., paying attention, self-control, participation in activities, and caring/respect for others) that lasted up to 7 weeks post-intervention. Overall, improvements were not bolstered by the addition of extra sessions, with the exception of paying attention. The implications of this study are limited due to the lack of a mindfulness program-naïve control group, yet findings suggest that mindfulness training might benefit teacher-based perceptions of improved classroom behavior in a public elementary school, which has practice implications for improving the classroom learning environment for lower-income and ethnically-diverse children.
Mindfulness training offers one approach to promote self-regulation, and potentially, to improve long-term developmental outcomes. Although mindfulness training programs are geared primarily for adults, there have been advancements in the development of programs designed for children and adolescents. In this chapter, we focus on one mindfulness training program called Inner Kids and the impact it might have on self-regulation and other important health constructs. The objectives of this chapter are to define self-regulation and consider its relation to other conceptually similar constructs and its developmental trajectory across childhood and adolescence; provide a brief overview of mindfulness; and offer a discussion of how mindfulness training might promote self-regulation. We then turn to a discussion of Inner Kids, as well as to results of a randomized controlled trial testing the program’s beneficial effect on self-regulation in second- and third-grade children. We conclude with specific recommendations for future research.
Although therapeutic treatments exist for substance use disorder (SUD), about half of individuals who enter treatment leave early and relapse to substance use. Early dropout from residential treatment places individuals at risk of relapse, and women in SUD residential treatment represent a vulnerable population. Evidence gaps persist for the use of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) among racially and ethnically diverse women with SUDs, especially regarding the efficacy of MBIs adapted to prevent residential dropout and relapse. We previously developed and pilot tested an MBI, Moment-by-Moment in Women's Recovery (MMWR), adapted to support women with SUD during residential treatment. The 12-session MMWR program tested in the present study integrates relapse prevention, addresses literacy level and trauma experiences and mental health problems, and is relevant to issues surrounding treatment- and relapse-related stressors among women. The primary objective of the current Phase II randomized controlled trial is to adequately test the efficacy of MMWR on residential treatment retention and substance use relapse and determine psychosocial and neural mechanisms of action underlying MMWR. Participants are women in residential SUD treatment from a community-based residential site that serves mainly women who are low-income and racially and ethnically diverse. A subgroup of participants from each treatment group also completes functional and structural neuroimaging assessments before and after the intervention to explore possible structural and functional brain correlates of change associated with participation in the MMWR program. Findings are expected to inform the utility of adapting MBIs to improve treatment success among vulnerable women in SUD residential treatment.
BACKGROUND: Although yoga and meditation have been used for stress reduction with reported improvement in inflammation, little is known about the biological mechanisms mediating such effects. The present study examined if a yogic meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral transcription control pathways that shape immune cell gene expression.METHODS: Forty-five family dementia caregivers were randomized to either Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM) or Relaxing Music (RM) listening for 12 min daily for 8 weeks and 39 caregivers completed the study. Genome-wide transcriptional profiles were collected from peripheral blood leukocytes sampled at baseline and 8-week follow-up. Promoter-based bioinformatics analyses tested the hypothesis that observed transcriptional alterations were structured by reduced activity of the pro-inflammatory nuclear factor (NF)-κB family of transcription factors and increased activity of Interferon Response Factors (IRFs; i.e., reversal of patterns previously linked to stress). RESULTS: In response to KKM treatment, 68 genes were found to be differentially expressed (19 up-regulated, 49 down-regulated) after adjusting for potentially confounded differences in sex, illness burden, and BMI. Up-regulated genes included immunoglobulin-related transcripts. Down-regulated transcripts included pro-inflammatory cytokines and activation-related immediate-early genes. Transcript origin analyses identified plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B lymphocytes as the primary cellular context of these transcriptional alterations (both p<.001). Promoter-based bioinformatic analysis implicated reduced NF-κB signaling and increased activity of IRF1 in structuring those effects (both p<.05). CONCLUSION: A brief daily yogic meditation intervention may reverse the pattern of increased NF-κB-related transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased IRF1-related transcription of innate antiviral response genes previously observed in healthy individuals confronting a significant life stressor.