Stress Reduction through Mindfulness Meditation
Effects on Psychological Symptomatology, Sense of Control, and Spiritual Experiences
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, Calif., USA
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Background: This study examined the effects of an 8-week stress reduction program based on training in mindfulness meditation. Previous research efforts suggesting this program may be beneficial in terms of reducing stress-related symptomatology and helping patients cope with chronic pain have been limited by a lack of adequate comparison control groups. Methods: Twenty-eight individuals who volunteered to participate in the present study were randomized into either an experimental group or a nonintervention control group. Results: Following participation, experimental subjects, when compared with controls, evidenced significantly greater changes in terms of: (1) reductions in overall psychological symptomatology; (2) increases in overall domain-specific sense of control and utilization of an accepting or yielding mode of control in their lives, and (3) higher scores on a measure of spiritual experiences. Conclusions: The techniques of mindfulness meditation, with their emphasis on developing detached observation and awareness of the contents of consciousness, may represent a powerful cognitive behavioral coping strategy for transforming the ways in which we respond to life events. They may also have potential for relapse prevention in affective disorders.
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