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Perceived Benefits and Doubts of Participants in a Weekly Meditation Study

Abstract

We examined perceived benefits and doubts of participants in a meditation intervention study. We conducted a content analysis of weekly written reports from 65 college students practicing meditation over the course of an academic semester. As anticipated, the majority of participants reported at least one benefit of meditation, and most of these individuals also reported at least one doubt. Benefits fell broadly into cognitive, emotional, and spiritual categories. Types of benefits reported extend beyond many existing quantitative measures focusing on awareness and attention. These results affirm the need for additional measures and multiple methods to capture the depth and breadth of mindfulness experience. Doubts fell broadly into cognitive and physical challenges during meditation sessions, difficulty finding the time and motivation to meditate outside class sessions, and questions about the efficacy of meditation and self-efficacy to engage in it. Descriptions of doubts may inform how mindfulness leaders provide instruction in research and practice settings, and might mitigate attrition.

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Correspondence to Sharon R. Sears.

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Sears, S.R., Kraus, S., Carlough, K. et al. Perceived Benefits and Doubts of Participants in a Weekly Meditation Study. Mindfulness 2, 167–174 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-011-0055-4

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Benefits
  • Doubts
  • Content analysis