International Research

International Research

How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies

(2015, April). Clinical Psychology Review, 37, 1–12. Authors: Gua, J., Straussb, C., Bonda, R., & Cavanagha, K.
This review identified strong, consistent evidence for cognitive and emotional reactivity, moderate and consistent evidence for mindfulness, ruminatio, and worry, and preliminary but insufficient evidence for self-compassion and psychological flexibility as mechanisms underlying mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Two-stage meta-analytic structural equation modelling demonstrated evidence for mindfulness, rumination and worry as significant mediators of the effects of MBIs on mental health outcomes.

Effectiveness &cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT):

(2015, April 21). Lancet. Authors: Kuyken, W., DR. et al.
We found no evidence that MBCT-TS is superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment for the prevention of depressive relapse in individuals at risk for depressive relapse or recurrence. Both treatments were associated with enduring positive outcomes in terms of relapse or recurrence, residual depressive symptoms and quality of life.

Mindfulness‐based stress reduction and mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

(2011). Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124(2), 102‐119. Authors: Fjorback, L. O, Arendt, M., Ornbol, E., Fink, P., & Walach, H.
Mindfulness‐based stress reduction improved mental health and mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy prevented depressive relapse.

How positive emotions build physical health: Perceived positive social connections account for the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone

(2013, July). Psychological Science, 24(7), 1123-32. Authors: Kok, B. E., Coffey, K. A., Cohn, M. A., Catalino, L. I., Vacharkulksemsuk, T., Algoe, S. B., Brantley, M., &., Fredrickson, B. L .
Participants in the intervention group increased in positive emotions relative to those in the control group, an effect moderated by baseline vagal tone, a proxy index of physical health. Increased positive emotions, in turn, produced increases in vagal tone, an effect mediated by increased perceptions of social connections. This experimental evidence identifies one mechanism, perceptions of social connections, through which positive emotions build physical health, indexed as vagal tone. Results suggest that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.

Mindfulness and self-compassion as predictors of psychological wellbeing in long-term meditators and matched nonmeditators

(2012, May). Mindfulness, 7(3), 230-238. Authors: Baer, R. A., Lynkins, E, L. B., &., Peters, J. R.
Findings suggest that both mindfulness and self-compassion skills may play important roles in the improved wellbeing associated with mindfulness training; however, longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Mindfulness and its role in physical and psychological health

(2012). Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 4, 91–105. Authors: Prazak, M., Critelli, J., Martin, L., Miranda, V., Purdum, M. and Powers, C.
Aspects of mindfulness were explored in relation to both physical health, which consisted of heart rate variability, a measure of overall cardiovascular health, and psychological health, which consisted of flourishing, existential well-being, negative affect, and social well-being in a sample of 506 undergraduate students. Individuals high in mindfulness showed better cardiovascular health and psychological health.

Effects of mindfulness meditation: A meta-analysis

(2012). Mindfulness, 3(3),174-189. Authors: Eberth, J., & Sedlmeier, P.
The effects differed widely across dependent variables. Moreover, we found large differences between the effect sizes reported for complete Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs vs. “pure” meditation. MBSR seems to have its most powerful effect on attaining higher psychological wellbeing, whereas pure mindfulness meditation studies reported the largest effects on variables associated with the concept of mindfulness.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a stress management intervention for healthy individuals

(2014). Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 19(4),271-286. A systematic review. Authors: Sharma, M., & Rush, S. E.
Of the 17 studies, 16 demonstrated positive changes in psychological or physiological outcomes related to anxiety and/or stress. Despite the limitations of not all studies using randomised controlled design, having smaller sample sizes, and having different outcomes, mindfulness-based stress reduction appears to be a promising modality for stress management.

Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis

(2014, December). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(6),1101-14. Authors: Galante, J., Galante, I., Bekkers, M. J., & Gallacher, J.
KBM showed evidence of benefits for the health of individuals and communities through its effects on wellbeing and social interaction. Further research, including well-conducted large RCTs, is warranted.

Mindful Awareness Research Centre, US

Their mission is to foster mindful awareness through education and research to promote wellbeing and a more compassionate society. The Mindful Awareness Research Center is a part of the UCLA Cousins Psychoneuroimmunology Institute.

American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA)

The AMRA’s mission is to support empirical and conceptual efforts to establish an evidence base for the process, practice and construct of mindfulness; promote best evidence-based standards for the use of mindfulness research and its applications; and facilitate mindfulness-related dialogue and discovery.

Standardised mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare: An overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs

(2015, April) PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124344. Authors: Gotink, R A., Chu, P., Busschbach, J.J.V., Benson, H., Fricchione, G.L., & Hunink, M.G.M.
Mindfulness-based therapies are being used in a wide range of common chronic conditions in both treatment and prevention despite lack of consensus about their effectiveness in different patient categories. This study systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in different patient categories.

Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density

(2011) Psychiatry Research: Neuroimagining 191(30), 36-43. Authors: Hölzel, B.K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsett, S.M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S.W.
Therapeutic interventions that incorporate training in mindfulness meditation have become increasingly popular, but to date little is known about neural mechanisms associated with these interventions. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), one of the most widely used mindfulness training programmes, has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological wellbeing and to ameliorate symptoms of a number of disorders. Here, authors report on a controlled longitudinal study to investigate pre–post changes in brain gray matter concentration attributable to participation in an MBSR programme.

Dwelling on negative events biggest cause of stress

(2013, October) University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society.
A study by psychologists at the University of Liverpool has found that traumatic life events are the biggest cause of anxiety and depression, but how a person thinks about these events determines the level of stress they experience.

A wandering mind is an unhappy mind

(2010, November) Science. Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp.932. Authors: Killingsworth, M.A & Gilbert, D.T.
Authors developed a smartphone technology to sample people’s ongoing thoughts, feelings, and actions and found that people are thinking about what is not happening almost as often as they are thinking about what is and found that doing so typically makes them unhappy.

View the TED talk here:

Mindfulness-based interventions in schools – a systematic review and meta-analysis

(2014, May) Frontiers in Psychology. Authors: Zenner, C., Herrnleben-Kurz, S., & Walach, H.
Mindfulness programs for schools are popular. We systematically reviewed the evidence regarding the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on psychological outcomes, using a comprehensive search strategy designed to locate both published and unpublished studies.

Emotional reactivity lessens with mindfulness, brain study shows

(2016, May). American Mindfulness Research Association. Uusberg, H., Talpsep, T., & Paaver, M.
One advantage of being mindful is that it allows one to respond to situations with equanimity rather than reacting emotionally in a “knee-jerk” fashion. How does mindfulness help us to do this? According to one theory, mindfulness helps to extinguish our negative emotional reactions. It does this by increasing our exposure to the stimuli that provoke these reactions while helping us to maintain an open, non-judgmental stance.

Mindfulness meditation counteracts self-control depletion

(2012, June). Consciousness and Cognition, 21(2), 1016–1022. Authors: Friese, M., Messner, C., & Schaffner, Y.
Mindfulness meditation describes a set of different mental techniques to train attention and awareness. Trait mindfulness and extended mindfulness interventions can benefit self-control. The present study investigated the short-term consequences of mindfulness meditation under conditions of limited self-control resources. Specifically, we hypothesized that a brief period of mindfulness meditation would counteract the deleterious effect that the exertion of self-control has on subsequent self-control performance. Participants who had been depleted of self-control resources by an emotion suppression task showed decrements in self-control performance as compared to participants who had not suppressed emotions. However, participants who had meditated after emotion suppression performed equally well on the subsequent self-control task as participants who had not exerted self-control previously. This finding suggests that a brief period of mindfulness meditation may serve as a quick and efficient strategy to foster self-control under conditions of low resources.

Mindfulness and inhibitory control in early adolescence

(2011, March). The Journal of Early Adolescence March. Authors: Oberle, E., et al.
This study examined the relationship between the executive control process of inhibition and self-reported dispositional mindfulness, controlling for gender, grade, and cortisol levels in 99 (43% female) fourth- and fifth-graders (X = 10.23 years, SD = 0.53). Students completed a measure of mindful attention awareness and a computerized executive function (EF) task assessing inhibitory control. Morning cortisol levels also were collected and were used as an indicator of neuroendocrine regulation. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that, after controlling for gender, grade, and cortisol levels, higher scores on the mindfulness attention awareness measure significantly predicted greater accuracy (% correct responses) on the inhibitory control task. This research contributes to understanding the predictors of EF skills in early adolescents’ cognitive development. Specifically, it identifies mindfulness—a skill that can be fostered and trained in intervention programs to promote health and well-being—as significantly related to inhibitory processes in early adolescence.

Searching for the philosopher’s stone: promising links between meditation and brain preservation

(2016, May). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Authors: Luders, E., & Cherbuin, N.
In the context of an aging population and increased prevalence of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, developing strategies to decrease the negative effects of aging is imperative. The scientific study of meditation as a potential tool to downregulate processes implicated in brain aging is an emerging field, and a growing body of research suggests that mindfulness practices are beneficial for cerebral resilience.

Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners

Numerous studies have begun to address how the brain’s gray and white matter may be shaped by meditation. This research is yet to be integrated, however, and two fundamental questions remain: Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? If so, what is the magnitude of these differences?

Mindfulness Interventions with Youth: A Meta-Analysis

Mindfulness interventions with youth overall were found to be helpful and not to carry iatrogenic harm, with the primary omnibus effect size (del) in the small to moderate range (0.23, p < .0001), indicating the superiority of mindfulness treatments over active control comparison conditions. A significantly larger effect size was found on psychological symptoms compared to other dependent variable types (0.37 vs. 0.21, p = .028), and for studies drawn from clinical samples compared to non-clinical sample (0.50 vs. 0.20, p = .024). Mindfulness appears to be a promising intervention modality for youth. Although to date the majority of studies on mindfulness with youth engage generally healthy participants recruited from schools, the findings of this meta-analysis suggest that future research might focus on youth in clinical settings and target symptoms of psychopathology.

International Research on Mindfulness