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
John A. Astin, 333 Santa Isabel, Newport Beach, CA 92660 (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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