Exploring the Benefits of Mindfulness Training in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Adults: a Randomized Controlled Study Using a Mixed Methods Approach
The current randomized controlled study employed a mixed methods approach to better elucidate the benefits of mindfulness meditation for stress management among healthy older adults. Ninety-six older adults were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI, n = 57) or a reading and relaxation program (RRP, n = 39). Participants completed the stress profile pre- and post-intervention and a series of open-ended questions post-intervention for qualitative analysis. Results suggest that both groups displayed improvements from baseline for perceived hassles, global health habits, and psychological wellbeing. Between-groups differences at post-intervention were only found for threat minimization, with the MBI group displaying a relative increase in this coping strategy relative to the RRP group. Results were not moderated by baseline perceived stress. Qualitative benefits and challenges of each program were identified. Current findings contribute to the scarce literature examining mindfulness in older adults and suggest that employing a mixed -methods approach can help to more accurately evaluate the benefits of mindfulness training in this population.
KeywordsMindfulness Intervention Older adults Stress Wellbeing
AJF: designed and executed the study, ran data analyses, and wrote the paper. SM: collaborated with executing the study and writing of the study. MF: collaborated with executing the study. DK: collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.
This study was partially funded by the Ryerson University Health Research Fund (Fiocco-2012).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Ryerson University Research Ethics Board (#2012-192-1). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bernstein, D. A., Borkovec, T. D., & Hazlett-Stevens, H. (2000). New directions in progressive relaxation training: a guidebook for helping professionals. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J.J., Irwin, M.R., Burklund, L.J., Lieberman, M.D., Arevalo, J.M.G., Ma, J., Breen, E.C., & Cole, S.W. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: A small randomized controlled trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26, 1095–1101.Google Scholar
- Gallin, J.I., & Ognibene, F.P. (2012). Principles and practice of clinical research. Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Glenn, G. (2007). Retirement: effects of a psychoeducation program. Psychology. Gold Coast, Queensland,Australia, Bond University. Doctor of Philosophy.Google Scholar
- IBM Corp. (2013). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.Google Scholar
- Jain, S., Shapiro, S. L., Swanick, S., Roesch, S. C., Mills, P. J., Bell, I., & Schwartz, G. E. (2007). A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: effects on distress, positive states of mind, rumination, and distraction. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33(1), 11–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living. New York: Dell Publishing.Google Scholar
- Morone, N. E., Greco, C.M. & Weiner, D.K. (2008). Mindfulness meditation for treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: a randomized controlled pilot study. Pain, 134(3), 310–319.Google Scholar
- Moynihan, J. A., Chapman, B. P., Klorman, R., Krasner, M. S., Duberstein, P. R., Brown, K. W., & Talbot, N. L. (2013). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for older adults: effects of executive function, frontal alpha asymmetry and immune function. Neuropsychobiology, 68, 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mularski, R. A., Munjas, B. A., Lorenz, K. A., Sun, S., Robertson, S. J., Schmelzer, W., Kim, A. C., & Shekelle, P. G. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based therapy for dyspnea in chronic obstructive lung disease. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 1083–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nowack, K. (2013). Coaching for stress: StressScan. Psychometircs in Coaching, J. Passmore, United Kingdom: 305–324.Google Scholar
- QSR International Pty Ltd. (2012). NVivo qualitative data analysis Software; Version 10.Google Scholar
- Richardson, V. E., Bennett, K. M., Carr, D., Gallagher, S., Kim, J., & Fields, N. (2015). How does bereavement get under the skin? The effects of late-life spousal loss on cortisol levels. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 70(3), 341–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stirman, S. W., Shields, N., Deloriea, J., Landy, M. S., Belus, J. M., Maslej, M. M., & Monson, C. M. (2013). A randomized controlled dismantling trial of post-workshop consultation strategies to increase effectiveness and fidelity to an evidence-based psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Implementation Science, 8(82), 1–8.Google Scholar