Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program

Abstract

Relationships were investigated between home practice of mindfulness meditation exercises and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms, perceived stress, and psychological well-being in a sample of 174 adults in a clinical Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. This is an 8- session group program for individuals dealing with stress-related problems, illness, anxiety, and chronic pain. Participants completed measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, symptoms, and well-being at pre- and post-MBSR, and monitored their home practice time throughout the intervention. Results showed increases in mindfulness and well-being, and decreases in stress and symptoms, from pre- to post-MBSR. Time spent engaging in home practice of formal meditation exercises (body scan, yoga, sitting meditation) was significantly related to extent of improvement in most facets of mindfulness and several measures of symptoms and well-being. Increases in mindfulness were found to mediate the relationships between formal mindfulness practice and improvements in psychological functioning, suggesting that the practice of mindfulness meditation leads to increases in mindfulness, which in turn leads to symptom reduction and improved well-being

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Astin, J. (1997). Stress reduction through mindfulness meditation: Effects on psychological symptomatology, sense of control, and spiritual experiences. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 66, 97–106.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., Walsh, E., Duggan, D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2007). Mindfulness and psychological well-being in experienced mediators. (Manuscript under review).

  4. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., & Allen, K. B. (2004). Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: The Kentucky inventory of mindfulness skills. Assessment, 11, 191–206.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27–45.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Brown, K., & Ryan, R. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822–848.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Buchheld, N., Grossman, P., & Walach, H. (2001). Measuring mindfulness in insight meditation (Vipassana) and meditation-based psychotherapy: The development of the Freiburg mindfulness inventory (FMI). Journal for Meditation and Meditation Research, 1, 11–34.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Carmody, J., Crawford, S., & Churchill, L. (2006). A pilot study of mindfulness-based stress reduction for hot flashes. Menopause, 13, 760–769.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cohen, S., Kamark, T., & Mermelstern, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Cohen, S., & Williamson, C. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont Symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park: Sage.

  12. Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564–570.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Derogatis, L. R. (1992). The brief symptom inventory (BSI): Adminstration, scoring and procedures manual-II (2nd ed.). National Computer Systems, Minneapolis.

  14. Dimidjian, S., & Linehan, M. M. (2003). Defining an agenda for future research on the clinical application of mindfulness practice. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 166–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Feldman, G. C., Hayes, A. M., Kumar, S. M., Greeson, J. G., & Laurenceau, J. P. (In press). Mindfulness and emotion regulation: The development and initial validation of the cognitive and affective mindfulness scale-revised (CAMS-R). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.

  16. Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hayes, S. C., Luoma, J. B., Bond, F. W., Masuda, A., & Lillis, J. (2006). Acceptance and commitment therapy: Model, processes and outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 1–25.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hayes, S. C., & Smith, S. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life: The new acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behaviour change. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1987). Four year followup of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain; treatment outcomes and compliance. Clinical Journal of Pain, 2, 159–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1982). An out-patient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry, 4, 33–47.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacorte.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are. New York: Hyperion.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Kabat-Zinn, J., & Chapman-Waldrop, A. (1988). Compliance with an outpatient stress reduction program: Rates and predictors of program completion. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 11, 333–352.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., & Burney, R. (1985). The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 8, 163–190.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L., Fletcher, K., Pbert, L., Linderking, W., & Santorelli, S. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 936–943.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Kristeller, J., Quillian-Wolever, R., & Sheets, V. (Manuscript under review). Mindfulness-based eating awareness therapy (MB-EAT): A randomized trial with binge eating disorder.

  28. Kristeller, J. L., & Hallett, C. B. (1999). An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 357-363.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. MacKinnon, D. P., Krull, J. L., & Lockwood, C. M. (2000). Equivalence of the mediation, confounding, and suppression effect. Prevention Science, 1, 173–181.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Majumdar, M., Grossman, P., Dietz-Waschkowski, B., Kersig, S., & Walach, H. (2002). Does mindfulness meditation contribute to health? outcome evaluation of a German sample. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 8, 719–730.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Ramel, W., Goldin, P. R., Carmona, P. E., & McQuaid, J. R. (2004). The Effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive processes and affect in patients with past depression. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 28, 433–455.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rosenthal, R. (1984). Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Salmon, P., Sephton, S. E., Weissbecker, I., Hoover, K., Ulmer, C., & Studts, J. (2004). Mindfulness meditation in clinical practice. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 11, 434–446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Sewell, W. H., Hauser, R. M., Springer, K. W., & Hauser, T. S. (2004). As we age: The Wisconsin longitudinal study, 1957–2001. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 20, 3–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Shapiro, S., Schwartz, G., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. J Beh Med, 21, 581–599.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 373–386.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Santerre, C. (2002). Meditation and positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Speca, M., Carlson, L. E., Goodey, E., & Angen, M. (2000). A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: The effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62, 613–622.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. Toneatto, T., & Nguyen, L. (2007). Does mindfulness meditation improve anxiety and mood symptoms? A review of the controlled research. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 260–266.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Williams, K. A., Kolar, M. M., Reger, B. E., & Pearson, J. C. (2001). Evaluation of a wellness-based mindfulness stress reduction intervention: A controlled trial. American Journal of Health Promotion, 15, 422–432.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of staff in the Center for Mindfulness for administrative support and data entry.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James Carmody.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Carmody, J., Baer, R.A. Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. J Behav Med 31, 23–33 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-007-9130-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness based stress reduction
  • Meditation
  • Medical symptoms
  • Psychological symptoms
  • Wellbeing
  • Stress