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Background: Many attempts have been made to abbreviate mindfulness programmes in order to make them more accessible for general and clinical populations while maintaining their therapeutic components and efficacy. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) programme and a 4-week abbreviated version for the improvement of well-being in a non-clinical population., Method: A quasi-experimental, controlled, pilot study was conducted with pre-post and 6-month follow-up measurements and three study conditions (8- and 4-session MBI programmes and a matched no-treatment control group, with a sample of 48, 46, and 47 participants in each condition, respectively). Undergraduate students were recruited, and mindfulness, positive and negative affect, self-compassion, resilience, anxiety, and depression were assessed. Mixed-effects multi-level analyses for repeated measures were performed., Results: The intervention groups showed significant improvements compared to controls in mindfulness and positive affect at the 2- and 6-month follow-ups, with no differences between 8- vs. 4-session programmes. The only difference between the abbreviated MBI vs. the standard MBI was found in self-kindness at 6 months, favoring the standard MBI. There were marginal differences in anxiety between the controls vs. the abbreviated MBI, but there were differences between the controls vs. the standard MBI at 2- and 6-months, with higher levels in the controls. There were no differences in depression between the controls vs. the abbreviated MBI, but differences were found between the controls vs. the standard MBI at 2- and 6-months, favoring the standard MBI. There were no differences with regard to negative affect and resilience., Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to directly investigate the efficacy of a standard 8-week MBI and a 4-week abbreviated protocol in the same population. Based on our findings, both programmes performed better than controls, with similar effect size (ES). The efficacy of abbreviated mindfulness programmes may be similar to that of a standard MBI programme, making them potentially more accessible for a larger number of populations. Nevertheless, further studies with more powerful designs to compare the non-inferiority of the abbreviated protocol and addressing clinical populations are warranted., Clinical Trials.gov Registration ID: NCT02643927
The first structured 8-week program on mindfulness, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), was developed by Kabat-Zinn (1982) in a hospital linked to the University of Massachusetts. As is usual in private health systems, participants of these programs have to pay for them, making them less accessible to low-income individuals. Consequently, a large proportion of participants of mindfulness-based interventions have been high-income, white, Anglo-Saxon, and educated individuals actively seeking mindfulness training (Olano et al., 2015). Despite Kabat-Zinn's purported interest in offering mindfulness to low-income populations, few studies have investigated the efficacy and/or acceptability of these programs for individuals of low socioeconomic status (Roth and Creaser, 1997; Kabat-Zinn et al., 2016).Mindfulness programs are now taught in more than 50 countries worldwide (Kabat-Zinn et al., 2016), including Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Europe and the Americas (encompassed by the term “Latin” in this paper). Such Latin countries share obvious cultural influences and similarities—and during the implementation of mindfulness in these countries—Latin clinicians and researchers have observed that compared to non-Latin countries, there exist differences in how their patients learn and practice mindfulness (Demarzo et al., 2015). In this opinion paper, we briefly provide a preliminary conceptual framework for a culturally-syntonic approach to implementing mindfulness- and compassion-based (M and C) interventions in Latin societies. Furthermore, based on the authors' own clinical and teaching experiences, we offer recommendations for the effective teaching of M and C approaches in Latin countries.