Longitudinal Effects of a 2-Year Meditation and Buddhism Program on Well-Being, Quality of Life, and Valued Living
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Most research on mindfulness and meditation has focused on structured therapeutic interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, or meditation retreats. Such programs have received moderate empirical support for improving psychological outcomes in clinical and nonclinical populations, but there remains a paucity of research on intensive or long-term mindfulness or meditation programs for experienced practitioners, especially those that incorporate Buddhist teachings. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program, Dharma in Daily Life (DIDL).
Well-being, quality of life, valued living, and theorized processes of change were measured using a naturalistic, quasi-experimental design over the course of the 2-year program and 6-month follow-up. Participants included 17 individuals enrolled in the program and 14 individuals recruited from community meditation groups.
Participation in the program predicted increases in subjective well-being and mindfulness over time compared to the control group. Regardless of condition, frequency of meditation predicted lower psychological inflexibility and higher mindfulness, well-being, and progress toward values. Length of meditation session predicted a greater ability to observe experience, and prior meditation experience predicted greater nonreactivity to experience.
Although preliminary, results suggest that participation in a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program may positively impact mindfulness and general well-being. Frequency of meditation sessions appears to be a particularly important variable. These findings warrant further investigation of such programs and practice parameters, as well as how each may affect key outcomes.
KeywordsMindfulness Meditation Buddhism Well-being Quality of life Longitudinal
Thank you to Susie Harrington for her support and encouragement, without which this project would not have been possible.
Data Availability Statement
All data are available at the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/64awp/?view_only=1724e125c9d2485e9276fb561a7a652f).
BMS designed and executed the study, assisted with data analysis, wrote the methods and half the introduction, and edited the manuscript. CWO wrote the discussion and offered major edits to the full manuscript. TSB conducted data analysis and wrote the results. EJB collaborated on study design and wrote half the introduction. TAS collaborated on study design, advised on aspects related to the DIDL program, and offered edits to the full manuscript. MPT collaborated on study design and offered edits to the full manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Brooke M. Smith declares that she has no conflict of interest. Clarissa W. Ong declares that she has no conflict of interest. Tyson S. Barrett declares that he has no conflict of interest. Ellen J. Bluett declares that she has no conflict of interest. Timothy A. Slocum declares that he has no conflict of interest. Michael P. Twohig declares that he has 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 (Utah State University IRB protocol 6235) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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