, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 74-80

Increases in Positive Reappraisal Coping During a Group-Based Mantram Intervention Mediate Sustained Reductions in Anger in HIV-Positive Persons

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Abstract

Background

There is evidence that various meditation practices reduce distress, but little is known about the mechanisms of frequently repeating a mantram—a spiritual word or phrase—on distress reduction. Mantram repetition is the portable practice of focusing attention frequently on a mantram throughout the day without a specific time, place, or posture.

Purpose

We examined the hypothesis of whether increases in positive reappraisal coping or distancing coping mediated the sustained decreases in anger found following a group-based mantram intervention that was designed to train attention and promote awareness of internal experiences.

Method

A secondary analysis was performed on data collected from a randomized controlled trial that compared a group-based mantram intervention (n = 46) to an attention-matched control (n = 47) in a community sample of human immunodeficiency virus-positive adults. Positive reappraisal and distancing coping were explored as potential mediators of anger reduction.

Results

Participants in the mantram intervention reported significant increases in positive reappraisal coping over the 5-week intervention period, whereas the control group reported decreases. Increases in positive reappraisal coping during the 5-week intervention period appear to mediate the effect of mantram on decreased anger at 22-week follow-up.

Conclusions

Findings suggest that a group-based mantram intervention may reduce anger by enhancing positive reappraisal coping.

This work was supported by a grant from the NIH/NCCAM (R21AT01159-01A) with additional support from the UCSD General Clinical Research Center (#1637), NIH/National Center for Research Resources (M01RR008), Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T32-MH019391), the San Diego Veterans Medical Research Foundation, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA.