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Mindfulness and the Experience of Psychological Distress: the Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation and Attachment Anxiety

Mindfulness and the Experience of Psychological Distress: the Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation and Attachment Anxiety | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Mindfulness has been linked with decreased psychological distress, yet little is known about the possible intervening variables to explain this link. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of attachment styles and emotion regulation in explaining the relationship between mindfulness and psychological distress. It was hypothesised that mindfulness would be inversely associated with psychological distress, and that attachment style (attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) and emotion regulation would mediate this relationship. Australian adults (N = 402) completed an online questionnaire assessing mindfulness, emotion regulation, attachment style, and current psychological distress. Bootstrap mediation analyses confirmed an inverse relationship between mindfulness and distress. Both attachment anxiety and emotion regulation deficits were found to mediate the association between mindfulness and distress; however, attachment avoidance was not found to have a mediating effect. The findings are the first to demonstrate that attachment anxiety and emotion regulation deficits, in part, explain the association between mindfulness and various indicators of psychological distress. These findings highlight factors that may be useful to focus on within psychosocial interventions addressing psychological distress.

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Mindfulness meditation for insomnia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Mindfulness meditation for insomnia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Background Insomnia is a widespread and debilitating condition that affects sleep quality and daily productivity. Although mindfulness meditation (MM) has been suggested as a potentially effective supplement to medical treatment for insomnia, no comprehensively quantitative research has been conducted in this field. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis on the findings of related randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effects of MM on insomnia. Methods Related publications in PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library and PsycINFO were searched up to July 2015. To calculate the standardized mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), we used a fixed effect model when heterogeneity was negligible and a random effect model when heterogeneity was significant. Results A total of 330 participants in 6 RCTs that met the selection criteria were included in this meta-analysis. Analysis of overall effect revealed that MM significantly improved total wake time and sleep quality, but had no significant effects on sleep onset latency, total sleep time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, total wake time, ISI, PSQI and DBAS. Subgroup analyses showed that although there were no significant differences between MM and control groups in terms of total sleep time, significant effects were found in total wake time, sleep onset latency, sleep quality, sleep efficiency, and PSQI global score (absolute value of SMD range: 0.44–1.09, all p < 0.05). Conclusions The results suggest that MM may mildly improve some sleep parameters in patients with insomnia. MM can serve as an auxiliary treatment to medication for sleep complaints.

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Meta-Analysis: Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Prevention of Depressive Relapse

Meta-Analysis: Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Prevention of Depressive Relapse | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Importance  Relapse prevention in recurrent depression is a significant public health problem, and antidepressants are the current first-line treatment approach. Identifying an equally efficacious nonpharmacological intervention would be an important development.  Objective  To conduct a meta-analysis on individual patient data to examine the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) compared with usual care and other active treatments, including antidepressants, in treating those with recurrent depression.  Data Sources  English-language studies published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals identified from EMBASE, PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Scopus, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register from the first available year to November 22, 2014. Searches were conducted from November 2010 to November 2014.Study Selection  Randomized trials of manualized MBCT for relapse prevention in recurrent depression in full or partial remission that compared MBCT with at least 1 non-MBCT treatment, including usual care.Data Extraction and Synthesis  This was an update to a previous meta-analysis. We screened 2555 new records after removing duplicates. Abstracts were screened for full-text extraction (S.S.) and checked by another researcher (T.D.). There were no disagreements. Of the original 2555 studies, 766 were evaluated against full study inclusion criteria, and we acquired full text for 8. Of these, 4 studies were excluded, and the remaining 4 were combined with the 6 studies identified from the previous meta-analysis, yielding 10 studies for qualitative synthesis. Full patient data were not available for 1 of these studies, resulting in 9 studies with individual patient data, which were included in the quantitative synthesis. Results  Of the 1258 patients included, the mean (SD) age was 47.1 (11.9) years, and 944 (75.0%) were female. A 2-stage random effects approach showed that patients receiving MBCT had a reduced risk of depressive relapse within a 60-week follow-up period compared with those who did not receive MBCT (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58-0.82). Furthermore, comparisons with active treatments suggest a reduced risk of depressive relapse within a 60-week follow-up period (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.97). Using a 1-stage approach, sociodemographic (ie, age, sex, education, and relationship status) and psychiatric (ie, age at onset and number of previous episodes of depression) variables showed no statistically significant interaction with MBCT treatment. However, there was some evidence to suggest that a greater severity of depressive symptoms prior to treatment was associated with a larger effect of MBCT compared with other treatments.  Conclusions and Relevance  Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy appears efficacious as a treatment for relapse prevention for those with recurrent depression, particularly those with more pronounced residual symptoms. Recommendations are made concerning how future trials can address remaining uncertainties and improve the rigor of the field.

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The Role of Practitioner Resilience and Mindfulness in Effective Practice: A Practice-Based Feasibility Study

The Role of Practitioner Resilience and Mindfulness in Effective Practice: A Practice-Based Feasibility Study | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) A growing body of literature attests to the existence of therapist effects with little explanation of this phenomenon. This study therefore investigated the role of resilience and mindfulness as factors related to practitioner wellbeing and associated effective practice. Data comprised practitioners (n = 37) and their patient outcome data (n = 4980) conducted within a stepped care model of service delivery. Analyses employed benchmarking and multilevel modeling to identify more and less effective practitioners via yoking of therapist factors and nested patient outcomes. A therapist effect of 6.7 % was identified based on patient depression (PHQ-9) outcome scores. More effective practitioners compared to less effective practitioners displayed significantly higher levels of mindfulness as well as resilience and mindfulness combined. Implications for policy, research and practice are discussed.

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Neural, cognitive, and evolutionary foundations of human altruism

Neural, cognitive, and evolutionary foundations of human altruism | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) This article considers three forms of altruism from both a psychological and a neural perspective, with an emphasis on homologies that can be observed across species and potentially illuminate altruism's evolutionary origins. Kin-based altruism benefits biological relatives and, according to the theory of inclusive fitness, is ultimately beneficial to the altruist from a genetic standpoint. Kin selection adequately explains some altruistic behavior, but it is not applicable to much human altruism. Little is known about the neural processes that support it, but they may include cortical regions involved in processing autobiographical memory and the identities of familiar others. Reciprocity-based altruism is performed in expectation of future rewards and is supported by dopaminergic cortico-striatal networks that guide behavior according to anticipated rewards. Care-based altruism is aimed at improving the well-being of distressed and vulnerable individuals and is closely linked to empathic concern. This form of altruism is thought to rely on the subcortical neural systems that support parental care, particularly structures densely populated with receptors for the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, including the amygdala, stria terminalis, and striatum. The amygdala may be a particularly important convergence point for care-based altruism because of its dual role in responding both to cues that signal infantile vulnerability and those that signal distress. Research on altruism continues to converge across disciplines, but more research linking molecular-level neural processes to altruistic behavior in humans and other species is needed, as is research on how various forms of altruism intersect.

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Effectiveness of a school-based mindfulness program for transdiagnostic prevention in young adolescents

Effectiveness of a school-based mindfulness program for transdiagnostic prevention in young adolescents | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Anxiety, depression and eating disorders show peak emergence during adolescence and share common risk factors. School-based prevention programs provide a unique opportunity to access a broad spectrum of the population during a key developmental window, but to date, no program targets all three conditions concurrently. Mindfulness has shown promising early results across each of these psychopathologies in a small number of controlled trials in schools, and therefore this study investigated its use in a randomised controlled design targeting anxiety, depression and eating disorder risk factors together for the first time. Students (M age 13.63; SD = .43) from a broad band of socioeconomic demographics received the eight lesson, once weekly.b (“Dot be”) mindfulness in schools curriculum (N = 132) or normal lessons (N = 176). Anxiety, depression, weight/shape concerns and wellbeing were the primary outcome factors. Although acceptability measures were high, no significant improvements were found on any outcome at post-intervention or 3-month follow-up. Adjusted mean differences between groups at post-intervention were .03 (95% CI: −.06 to −.11) for depression, .01 (−.07 to −.09) for anxiety, .02 (−.05 to −.08) for weight/shape concerns, and .06 (−.08 to −.21) for wellbeing. Anxiety was higher in the mindfulness than the control group at follow-up for males, and those of both genders with low baseline levels of weight/shape concerns or depression. Factors that may be important to address for effective dissemination of mindfulness-based interventions in schools are discussed. Further research is required to identify active ingredients and optimal dose in mindfulness-based interventions in school settings.

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Altruism predicts mating success in humans

Altruism predicts mating success in humans | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

In order for non-kin altruism to evolve, altruists must receive fitness benefits for their actions that outweigh the costs. Several researchers have suggested that altruism is a costly signal of desirable qualities, such that it could have evolved by sexual selection. In two studies, we show that altruism is broadly linked with mating success. In Study 1, participants who scored higher on a self-report altruism measure reported they were more desirable to the opposite sex, as well as reported having more sex partners, more casual sex partners, and having sex more often within relationships. Sex moderated some of these relationships, such that altruism mattered more for men's number of lifetime and casual sex partners. In Study 2, participants who were willing to donate potential monetary winnings (in a modified dictator dilemma) reported having more lifetime sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex partners over the past year. Men who were willing to donate also reported having more lifetime dating partners. Furthermore, these patterns persisted, even when controlling for narcissism, Big Five personality traits, and socially desirable responding. These results suggest that altruists have higher mating success than non-altruists and support the hypothesis that altruism is a sexually selected costly signal of difficult-to-observe qualities.  [And see the excellent discussion of this article in the BPS Digest - https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/07/22/altruistic-people-have-more-sex/#more-46].

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Yoga in Clinical Practice

As the popularity of yoga has increased in mainstream society, its role as a form of complementary healthcare in clinical settings continues to grow as well. However, until recently, the popularity of yoga as a cultural phenomenon has not been matched by a commensurate increase in the rigor of research methods designed to assess its effectiveness in healthcare settings. Because of yoga’s growing popularity, it is important for clinicians to have an empirically based working knowledge of its potential benefits and limitations. This paper reviews 52 clinical research studies of yoga published since 2011, limiting attention exclusively to randomized controlled trials in the interest of both rigor and economy of space. Promising trends and persistent limitations in the literature are explored in depth. The majority of the studies reported positive outcomes in the yoga intervention groups, but further research is needed to validate yoga as an effective intervention for various populations.

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The mindful personality: Associations between dispositional mindfulness and the Five Factor Model of personality

The mindful personality: Associations between dispositional mindfulness and the Five Factor Model of personality | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

While curiosity about the correlates of mindfulness continues to grow, how mindfulness is related to personality factors remains unclear. Indeed, the relationships between dispositional mindfulness (DM) and one of the most common conceptualizations of personality, the Five Factor Model (FFM) have yielded mixed results. It may be that these mixed findings have resulted from a lack of analytic specificity. This study explored the relationship between DM and the FFM of personality, paying particular attention to the analysis of the mindfulness facets with respect to the FFM using canonical correlation analysis. The total DM score was found to be significantly correlated with each personality factor, with the strongest relationships observed between DM and neuroticism (negatively associated) as well as DM and conscientiousness (positively associated). The canonical correlation analysis provided further evidence of the relationship between DM and the FFM at a finer level of specificity. Three clusters of association emerged between the DM facets and the personality factors: 1) a self-regulation cluster, negatively associated with neuroticism and positively associated with conscientiousness, 2) a self-awareness cluster positively associated with openness, and 3) the conscientious confusion cluster, demonstrated a mixed relationship between conscientiousness and the mindful self-regulation cluster.

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Single exposure to the word “Loving” and implicit helping behavior

Single exposure to the word “Loving” and implicit helping behavior | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) Recent studies have reported that exposure to appeals for help containing the word “Love” increased donations. In this study, the effect of exposure to the single word “Loving” was examined on spontaneous helping behavior. Participants in the parking lots of several hypermarkets saw a male or a female confederate who was having difficulty loading a large heavy carton into a car. The confederate wore a T-shirt with a single word printed on the back: “Loving,” “Helping,” or no word. It was reported that more participants spontaneously offered to help the confederate when exposed to the word “Loving.” The importance of this word and further concepts are used to explain these results.

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Brief loving-kindness meditation reduces racial bias, mediated by positive other-regarding emotions

Brief loving-kindness meditation reduces racial bias, mediated by positive other-regarding emotions | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

The relationship between positive emotions and implicit racial prejudice is unclear. Interventions using positive emotions to reduce racial bias have been found wanting, while other research shows that positive affect can sometimes exacerbate implicit prejudice. Nevertheless, loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has shown some promise as a method of reducing bias despite increasing a broad range of positive emotions. A randomised control trial (n = 69) showed that a short-term induction of LKM decreased automatic processing, increased controlled processing, and was sufficient to reduce implicit prejudice towards the target’s racial group but not towards a group untargeted by the meditation. Furthermore, the reduction in bias was shown to be mediated by other-regarding positive emotions alongside increased control and decreased automaticity on the IAT. Non-other-regarding positive emotions conversely showed no correlation with bias. The study is the first to show that a short-term positive emotional induction can reduce racial prejudice, and aids the understanding of how positive emotions functionally differentiate in affecting bias.

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Why Does Positive Mental Health Buffer Against Psychopathology? An Exploratory Study on Self-Compassion as a Resilience Mechanism and Adaptive Emotion Regulation Strategy

(Available in free full text) Growing evidence suggests that positive mental health or wellbeing protects against psychopathology. How and why those who flourish derive these resilient outcomes is, however, unknown. This exploratory study investigated if self-compassion, as it continuously provides a friendly, accepting and situational context for negative experiences, functions as a resilience mechanism and adaptive emotion regulation strategy that protects against psychopathology for those with high levels of positive mental health. Participants from the general population (n = 349) provided measures at one time-point on positive mental health (MHC-SF), self-compassion (SCS-SF), psychopathology (HADS) and negative affect (mDES). Self-compassion significantly mediated the negative relationship between positive mental health and psychopathology. Furthermore, higher levels of self-compassion attenuated the relationship between state negative affect and psychopathology. Findings suggest that especially individuals with high levels of positive mental health possess self-compassion skills that promote resilience against psychopathology. These might function as an adaptive emotion regulation strategy and protect against the activation of schema related to psychopathology following state negative affective experiences. Enhancing self-compassion is a promising positive intervention for clinical practice. It will not only impact psychopathology through reducing factors like rumination and self-criticism, but also improve positive mental health by enhancing factors such as kindness and positive emotions. This may reduce the future risk of psychopathology.

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Can Compassion Meditation Contribute to the Development of Psychotherapists’ Empathy? A Review

Can Compassion Meditation Contribute to the Development of Psychotherapists’ Empathy? A Review | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Over the last three decades, a growing number of scientists and clinicians have been investigating the utility of meditative practices as attention and emotion regulation strategies. Many studies have provided evidence that mindfulness meditation can have positive effects on psychotherapists’ capacity to offer presence, acceptance and empathy to their clients. More recently, loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation have become the focus of scientific scrutiny as it has been thought that they could have even more impact on psychotherapists’ empathy than mindfulness meditation. This article reviews the scientific literature on loving-kindness and compassion meditation regarding particularly the potential impact of these meditative practices on the development of psychotherapists’ empathy. Studies in neuroscience have shown that loving-kindness and compassion meditation actually change the brain in areas associated with positive emotions and empathy. Loving-kindness and compassion meditation training studies have shown positive impacts on a number of empathy-related variables such as altruism, positive regard, prosocial behavior, interpersonal relationships, as well as affective empathy and empathic accuracy. Moreover, loving-kindness and compassion meditation actually reduce negative affects associated to empathy for pain, thus reducing the risk of psychotherapists’ burnout and enhancing their self-care. It is concluded that loving-kindness and compassion meditation would constitute an important and useful addition to every counselling or psychotherapy training curriculum.

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Attachment Security and Self-compassion Priming Increase the Likelihood that First-time Engagers in Mindfulness Meditation Will Continue with Mindfulness Training

Attachment Security and Self-compassion Priming Increase the Likelihood that First-time Engagers in Mindfulness Meditation Will Continue with Mindfulness Training | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Rowe, A. C., et al. (2016). "Attachment Security and Self-compassion Priming Increase the Likelihood that First-time Engagers in Mindfulness Meditation Will Continue with Mindfulness Training." Mindfulness (N Y) 7(3): 642-650.

(Available in free full text) Mindfulness practice has many mental and physical health benefits but can be perceived as ‘difficult’ by some individuals. This perception can discourage compliance with mindfulness meditation training programs. The present research examined whether the activation of thoughts and feelings related to attachment security and self-compassion (through semantic priming) prior to a mindfulness meditation session might influence willingness to engage in future mindfulness training. We expected both of these primes to positively influence participants’ willingness to continue with mindfulness training. We primed 117 meditation-naïve individuals (84 female; mean age of 22.3 years, SD = 4.83) with either a self-compassion, attachment security, or a neutral control prime prior to an introductory mindfulness exercise and measured their post-session willingness to engage in further training. Both experimental primes resulted in higher willingness to engage in further mindfulness training relative to the control condition. The self-compassion prime did so indirectly by increasing state mindfulness, while the attachment security prime had a direct effect. This study supports theoretical links between self-compassion and mindfulness and reveals a causal role for these factors in promoting willingness to engage in mindfulness training. Our findings have implications for improving compliance with mindfulness intervention programs.

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Heritable and Nonheritable Pathways to Early Callous-Unemotional Behaviors

Heritable and Nonheritable Pathways to Early Callous-Unemotional Behaviors | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Objective: Callous-unemotional behaviors in early childhood signal higher risk for trajectories of antisocial behavior and callous-unemotional traits that culminate in later diagnoses of conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy. Studies demonstrate high heritability of callous-unemotional traits, but little research has examined specific heritable pathways to early callous-unemotional behaviors. Studies also indicate that positive parenting protects against the development of callous-unemotional traits, but genetically informed designs have not been used to confirm that these relationships are not the product of gene-environment correlations. In a sample of adopted children and their biological and adoptive mothers, the authors tested novel heritable and nonheritable pathways to preschool callous-unemotional behaviors.  Method: In an adoption cohort of 561 families, history of severe antisocial behavior assessed in biological mothers and observations of adoptive mother positive reinforcement at 18 months were examined as predictors of callous-unemotional behaviors at 27 months.  Results: Despite limited or no contact with offspring, biological mother antisocial behavior predicted early callous-unemotional behaviors. Adoptive mother positive reinforcement protected against early callous-unemotional behaviors. High levels of adoptive mother positive reinforcement buffered the effects of heritable risk for callous-unemotional behaviors posed by biological mother antisocial behavior.  Conclusions: The findings elucidate heritable and nonheritable pathways to early callous-unemotional behaviors. The results provide a specific heritable pathway to callous-unemotional behaviors and compelling evidence that parenting is an important nonheritable factor in the development of callous-unemotional behaviors. The finding that positive reinforcement buffered heritable risk for callous-unemotional behaviors has important translational implications for the prevention of trajectories to serious antisocial behavior.

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Compassion at the mirror: Exposure to a mirror increases the efficacy of a self-compassion manipulation

Compassion at the mirror: Exposure to a mirror increases the efficacy of a self-compassion manipulation | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Abstract We tested whether a mirror could enhance the efficacy of a self-compassion manipulation in increasing soothing positive affect and heart rate variability (HRV). Eighty-six participants generated four phrases they would use to soothe and encourage their best friend. Second, they described an episode where they criticized themselves and were assigned to one of three conditions: (a) repeat the four phrases to themselves while looking at the mirror; (b) repeat the four phrases to themselves without the mirror; (c) look at themselves in the mirror without repeating the phrases. Participants in condition (a) reported higher levels of 'soothing' positive affect and HRV compared to participants in conditions (b) and (c). The effect of the 'phrases at the mirror' manipulation on soothing affect was mediated by increased common humanity. The mirror enhances the efficacy of this self-compassion manipulation in activating the soothing affect system connected with parasympathetic nervous system activity.

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The relationship of self-compassion and depression: Cross-lagged panel analyses in depressed patients after outpatient therapy

Abstract Background Previous cross-sectional studies suggest that self-compassion and depressive symptoms are consistently negatively associated. Although it is often implicitly assumed that (a lack of) self-compassion precedes depressive symptoms, so far no study has tested whether (lack of) self-compassion is a cause or a consequence of depressive symptoms, or both. Method To examine such reciprocal effects, we used data of 125 depressed outpatients after a time limited cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. We assessed self-compassion and depressive symptoms via self-report measures and the presence of a major depressive episode directly after therapy, as well as 6 and 12 months later. Results Cross-lagged panel analyses indicated that (lack of) self-compassion significantly predicted subsequent depressive symptoms while controlling for autoregressive effects, whereas depressive symptoms did not predict subsequent levels of self-compassion. This was also the case for the relationship between self-compassion and the presence of a major depressive episode. The same patterns also occurred when we separately tested the reciprocal effects for two composite sub-measures of either positive or negative facets of self-compassion. Limitations Causality cannot be inferred from our results. Depressive symptoms and self-compassion could still be causally unrelated, and a third variable could account for their negative association. Conclusions These findings support the notions that (a lack of) self-compassion could serve as a vulnerability factor for depression and that cultivating self-compassion may deserve a focus in depression prevention programs or treatments.

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Self-compassion enhances the efficacy of explicit cognitive reappraisal as an emotion regulation strategy in individuals with major depressive disorder

Self-compassion enhances the efficacy of explicit cognitive reappraisal as an emotion regulation strategy in individuals with major depressive disorder | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Cognitive reappraisal has been shown to be an effective strategy to regulate depressed mood in healthy and remitted depressed individuals. However, individuals currently suffering from a clinical depression often experience difficulties in utilizing this strategy. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine whether the efficacy of explicit cognitive reappraisal in major depressive disorder can be enhanced through the use of self-compassion and emotion-focused acceptance as preparatory strategies. Thereby, explicit cognitive reappraisal refers to purposefully identifying, challenging, and modifying depressiogenic cognitions to reduce depressed mood. To test our hypotheses, we induced depressed mood at four points in time in 54 participants (64.8% female; age M = 35.59, SD = 11.49 years) meeting criteria for major depressive disorder. After each mood induction, participants were instructed to either wait, or employ self-compassion, acceptance, or reappraisal to regulate their depressed mood. Depressed mood was assessed before and after each mood induction and regulation period on a visual analog scale. Results indicated that participants who had utilized self-compassion as a preparatory strategy experienced a significantly greater reduction of depressed mood during reappraisal than did those who had been instructed to wait prior to reappraisal. Participants who had used acceptance as a preparatory strategy did not experience a significantly greater reduction of depressed mood during subsequent reappraisal than those in the waiting condition. These findings provide preliminary evidence that the efficacy of explicit cognitive reappraisal is moderated by the precursory use of other emotion regulation strategies. In particular, they suggest that depressed individuals might benefit from using self-compassion to facilitate the subsequent use of explicit cognitive reappraisal.

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy v. group psychoeducation for people with generalised anxiety disorder: randomised controlled trial

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy v. group psychoeducation for people with generalised anxiety disorder: randomised controlled trial | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

Background Research suggests that an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) course may be effective for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).  Aims To compare changes in anxiety levels among participants with GAD randomly assigned to MBCT, cognitive–behavioural therapy-based psychoeducation and usual care.  Method In total, 182 participants with GAD were recruited (trial registration number: CUHK_CCT00267) and assigned to the three groups and followed for 5 months after baseline assessment with the two intervention groups followed for an additional 6 months. Primary outcomes were anxiety and worry levels.  Results Linear mixed models demonstrated significant group × time interaction (F(4,148) = 5.10, P = 0.001) effects for decreased anxiety for both the intervention groups relative to usual care. Significant group × time interaction effects were observed for worry and depressive symptoms and mental health-related quality of life for the psychoeducation group only.  Conclusions These results suggest that both of the interventions appear to be superior to usual care for the reduction of anxiety symptoms.

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Studying in the region of proximal learning reduces mind wandering

Insofar as mind wandering has been linked to poor learning, finding ways to reduce the propensity to mind wander should have implications for improving learning. We investigated the possibility that studying materials at an appropriate level of difficulty with respect to the individual’s capabilities—that is, studying in the region of proximal learning (RPL)—might reduce mind wandering. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were probed for their attentional state while they studied blocks of English–Spanish word pairs that were (a) easy, (b) in the RPL, or (c) difficult. We found that studying materials in the RPL was associated with reduced mind wandering. Test performance on items studied while mind wandering was also poorer. In Experiment 3, we investigated the relation between differences in participants’ mastery and mind wandering. We found that high performers mind wandered more when studying the easier word pairs, whereas low performers mind wandered more when studying the difficult items. These results indicate that the RPL is specific to the individual’s level of mastery and that mind wandering occurs when people are outside that region.

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Group CBT versus MBSR for social anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial.

Objective: The goal of this study was to investigate treatment outcome and mediators of cognitive–behavioral group therapy (CBGT) versus mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) versus waitlist (WL) in patients with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD). Method: One hundred eight unmedicated patients (55.6% female; mean age = 32.7 years, SD = 8.0; 43.5% Caucasian, 39% Asian, 9.3% Hispanic, 8.3% other) were randomized to CBGT versus MBSR versus WL and completed assessments at baseline, posttreatment/WL, and at 1-year follow-up, including the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale—Self-Report (primary outcome; Liebowitz, 1987) as well as measures of treatment-related processes. Results: Linear mixed model analysis showed that CBGT and MBSR both produced greater improvements on most measures compared with WL. Both treatments yielded similar improvements in social anxiety symptoms, cognitive reappraisal frequency and self-efficacy, cognitive distortions, mindfulness skills, attention focusing, and rumination. There were greater decreases in subtle avoidance behaviors following CBGT than MBSR. Mediation analyses revealed that increases in reappraisal frequency, mindfulness skills, attention focusing, and attention shifting, and decreases in subtle avoidance behaviors and cognitive distortions, mediated the impact of both CBGT and MBSR on social anxiety symptoms. However, increases in reappraisal self-efficacy and decreases in avoidance behaviors mediated the impact of CBGT (vs. MBSR) on social anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: CBGT and MBSR both appear to be efficacious for SAD. However, their effects may be a result of both shared and unique changes in underlying psychological processes. 

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Resisting self-compassion: Why are some people opposed to being kind to themselves?

Resisting self-compassion: Why are some people opposed to being kind to themselves? | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) Although self-compassion is associated with positive emotions, resilience, and well-being, some people resist recommendations to treat themselves with kindness and compassion. This study investigated how people’s personal values and evaluations of self-compassionate behaviors relate to their level of self-compassion. After completing measures of trait self-compassion and values, participants rated how they would view themselves after behaving in a self-compassionate and self-critical way. Overall, participants associated self-compassion with positive attributes that connote emotional well-being, yet only those who were low in trait self-compassion associated self-compassionate responding with negative attributes that involve low motivation, self-indulgence, low conscientiousness, and poor performance. Participants’ endorsement of basic values was not meaningfully related to their evaluations of self-compassionate vs. self-critical behaviors or to self-compassion scores. We propose that self-compassion might operate as an instrumental value insofar as those high vs. low in self-compassion differ in their beliefs about whether self-compassion affects performance-related outcomes positively or negatively.

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Institut Mindfulness 's curator insight, October 10, 3:09 AM

Why are some people opposed to being kind to themselves?

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“Wrong place to get help”: A field experiment on luxury stores and helping behavior

“Wrong place to get help”: A field experiment on luxury stores and helping behavior | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) Three experiments were conducted in field settings. It was hypothesized that luxury stores may act as environmental reminders of materialism and that helpfulness would vary according to the presence or absence of such cues. Study 1 (N = 80) indicated that consumers coming out of famous brand stores displayed less helpfulness, as compared to mere passersby. Study 2 (N = 112) showed passersby were less helpful near a luxury brand store than in an ordinary street with no shops. In Study 3 (N = 360), passersby were less helpful when walking down a street lined with highly exclusive stores, as compared to streets with ordinary stores or no stores. Results, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed. [Note: contrast this paper with this group's 2015 study showing increased helping behavior near hospitals or flower shops - but not churches].

Dr James Hawkins's insight:

Fascinating ...

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Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents

Growing suspension rates predict major negative life outcomes, including adult incarceration and unemployment. Experiment 1 tested whether teachers (n = 39) could be encouraged to adopt an empathic rather than punitive mindset about discipline-to value students' perspectives and sustain positive relationships while encouraging better behavior. Experiment 2 tested whether an empathic response to misbehavior would sustain students' (n = 302) respect for teachers and motivation to behave well in class. These hypotheses were confirmed. Finally, a randomized field experiment tested a brief, online intervention to encourage teachers to adopt an empathic mindset about discipline. Evaluated at five middle schools in three districts (Nteachers = 31; Nstudents = 1,682), this intervention halved year-long student suspension rates from 9.6% to 4.8%. It also bolstered respect the most at-risk students, previously suspended students, perceived from teachers. Teachers' mindsets about discipline directly affect the quality of teacher-student relationships and student suspensions and, moreover, can be changed through scalable intervention.

Dr James Hawkins's insight:

Fascinating ... and presumably relevant for parents (and others) too.

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Discontinuation of antidepressant medication after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for recurrent depression: randomised controlled non-inferiority trial

Discontinuation of antidepressant medication after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for recurrent depression: randomised controlled non-inferiority trial | Compassion & Mindfulness Research | Scoop.it

(Available in free full text) Background Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) both reduce the risk of relapse in recurrent depression, but their combination has not been studied.  Aims To investigate whether MBCT with discontinuation of mADM is non-inferior to MBCT+mADM.  Method A multicentre randomised controlled non-inferiority trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00928980). Adults with recurrent depression in remission, using mADM for 6 months or longer (n = 249), were randomly allocated to either discontinue (n = 128) or continue (n = 121) mADM after MBCT. The primary outcome was depressive relapse/recurrence within 15 months. A confidence interval approach with a margin of 25% was used to test non-inferiority. Key secondary outcomes were time to relapse/recurrence and depression severity.  Results The difference in relapse/recurrence rates exceeded the non-inferiority margin and time to relapse/recurrence was significantly shorter after discontinuation of mADM. There were only minor differences in depression severity.  Conclusions Our findings suggest an increased risk of relapse/recurrence in patients withdrawing from mADM after MBCT.

Dr James Hawkins's insight:

Disappointing ...

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