, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 372–383 | Cite as

The Body Scan and Mindful Breathing Among Veterans with PTSD: Type of Intervention Moderates the Relationship Between Changes in Mindfulness and Post-treatment Depression

  • Dana Dharmakaya ColganEmail author
  • Michael Christopher
  • Paul Michael
  • Helané Wahbeh


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a promising intervention for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression; however, a more detailed examination of the different elements of MBSR and various facets of mindfulness to determine what works best for whom is warranted. One hundred and two veterans with PTSD were randomly assigned to one of four arms: (a) body scan (BS; n = 27), (b) mindful breathing (MB; n = 25), (c) slow breathing (SB; n = 25), or (d) sitting quietly (SQ; n = 25). The purpose of this study was to (a) examine two separate components of MBSR (i.e., body scan and mindful breathing) among veterans with PTSD when compared to a nonmindfulness intervention (SB) and a control group (SQ), (b) assess if changes in specific mindfulness facets were predictive of post-treatment PTSD and depression for individuals who participated in a mindfulness intervention (BS vs. MB), and (c) investigate if type of mindfulness intervention received would moderate the relationship between pre- to post-treatment changes in mindfulness facets and post-treatment outcomes in PTSD and depression. Participants in the mindfulness groups experienced significant decreases in PTSD and depression symptom severity and increases in mindfulness, whereas the nonmindfulness groups did not. Among veterans who participated in a mindfulness group, change in the five facets of mindfulness accounted for 23 % of unique variance in the prediction of post-treatment depression scores. Simple slope analyses revealed that type of mindfulness intervention moderated the relationship among changes in facets of mindfulness and post-treatment depression.


Mindfulness Veterans PTSD Body scan Mindful breathing 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers T32AT002688, K01AT004951, and K24AT005121). The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. All relevant APA ethical standards and the code of ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) were followed in the conduct of the study. Additionally, IRB approval was granted by the institutions at which authors are located.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Professional PsychologyPacific UniversityHillsboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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