Immediate Effects of the Mindful Body Scan Practice on Risk-Taking Behavior
Training in mindfulness has been shown to improve a variety of psychological disorders as well as physical conditions. Additionally, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce risk-taking behaviors following several weeks of training. Reducing risk-taking behaviors is of particular importance in regard to specific mental health problems, such as substance use and eating disorders. Many studies that examine the effects of mindfulness utilize training programs that are several weeks in duration. However, some evidence indicates that brief, single-use mindfulness practices can have substantial effects on changing emotion and cognition in laboratory settings. The present study examined the immediate effects of a brief, single-use mindful body scan practice on risk-taking behavior in a laboratory setting. Participants included 153 undergraduate students at a major university in the southern USA. The experimental design was a randomized trial using an active control group, which engaged in a mind-wandering exercise. Results indicated that there was no significant interaction of condition by time on scores from the state mindfulness measure or the risk-taking task, yet main effects of time were observed for both variables. Findings suggest that the brief mindful body scan practice did not differentially effect mindfulness or risk-taking compared to the mind-wandering control exercise. However, there was a small, significant correlation observed between change in state mindfulness and change in risk taking for the full sample, suggesting a relationship between the variables of interest, albeit in the opposite direction as expected. Implications and limitations of the present study are discussed.
KeywordsMindfulness Risk-taking behavior Body scan College students
SU: designed and implemented the experiment, analyzed the data, as well as wrote up the majority of the manuscript. TR: aided in the design of the study, interpretation of the analyses, and made edits to the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures involving human participants in this study were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the authors’ institutional research committee at Louisiana State University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained for all individual participants included in the study.
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