, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 249–258 | Cite as

Tracking Longitudinal Changes in Affect and Mindfulness Caused by Concentration and Loving-kindness Meditation with Hierarchical Linear Modeling

  • Christopher J. MayEmail author
  • Jared R. Weyker
  • Stephanie K. Spengel
  • Lisa J. Finkler
  • Scott E. Hendrix


We compared the relative effects of 5 weeks of either concentration or loving-kindness meditation (CM, LKM) on mindfulness (including two subscales—presence and acceptance) and affect using a multiple baseline ABA design. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) indicated that 48–71 % of the total variance was attributable to individual differences. While meditating, CM practitioners experienced progressive increases in mindfulness and acceptance, while LKM practitioners exhibited increases in mindfulness, presence, and positive affect. When practitioners ceased meditation, those in the CM condition declined in mindfulness, acceptance, and positive affect throughout the cessation period. Individuals in the LKM group showed a progressive decrease in presence and a singular drop in negative affect immediately following meditation. There was a dissociation between acceptance and presence, with CM influencing the former and LKM the latter. Because mindfulness and positive affect did not decrease after the meditation period for the LKM group, these results suggest that LKM may induce more enduring changes in these variables. However, while meditation-specific HLMs indicated differences between meditation types, a combined HLM with both meditation conditions showed no group differences in the meditation or cessation phases of the study. More substantial were individual differences in response to meditation; these point to the necessity of using either large sample sizes in group means testing for meditation research or techniques permitting individual-based analysis such as HLM and single-subject designs.


Hierarchical linear modeling Multilevel modeling Individual differences Mindfulness Affect Meditation 


  1. 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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baer, R., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., Walsh, E., Duggan, D., & Willams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and non-meditating samples. Assessment, 15(2), 329–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnhofer, T., Chittka, T., Nightingale, H., Visser, C., & Crane, C. (2010). State effects of two forms of meditation on prefrontal EEG asymmetry in previously depressed individuals. Mindfulness, 1(1), 21–27. doi: 10.1007/s12671-010-0004-7.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822–848.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 23–33. doi: 10.1007/s10865-007-9130-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2009). How long does a mindfulness-based stress reduction program need to be? A review of class contact hours and effect sizes for psychological distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 627–638. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carson, J. W., Keefe, F. J., Lynch, T. R., Carson, K. M., Goli, V., Fras, A. M., et al. (2006). Loving-kindness meditation for chronic low back pain. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 23(3), 287–304. doi: 10.1177/0898010105277651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155–159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohn, M. A., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2010). In search of durable positive psychology interventions: predictors and consequences of long-term behavior change. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(5), 355–366.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 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). Alteration in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dedrick, R. F., Ferron, J. M., Hess, M. R., Hogarty, K. Y., Kromrey, J. D., Lang, T. R., Niles, J. D., & Lee, R. S. (2009). Multilevel modeling: a review of methodological issues and applications. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 69–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dobkin, P. L., Irving, J. A., & Amar, S. (2012). For whom may participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program be contraindicated? Mindfulness, 3(1), 44–50. doi: 10.1007/s12671-011-0079-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045–1062. doi: 10.1037/a0013262.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., & Gross, J. J. (2008). Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8(5), 720–724. doi: 10.1037/a0013237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jain, S., Shapiro, S. L., Swanick, S., Roesch, S. C., Mills, P. J., Bell, I., & Schwartz, G. E. R. (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. doi: 10.1207/215324796abm3301_2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kohls, N., Sauer, S., & Walach, H. (2009). Facets of mindfulness—results of an online study investigating the Freiburg mindfulness inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 46(2), 224–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kumar, S., Feldman, G., & Hayes, A. (2008). Changes in mindfulness and emotion regulation in an exposure-based cognitive therapy for depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32(6), 734–744. doi: 10.1007/s10608-008-9190-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leppma, M. (2011). The effect of loving-kindness meditation on empathy, perceived social support, and problem-solving appraisal in counseling students. Dissertation, University of Central Florida.Google Scholar
  19. May, C. J., Burgard, M., Mena, M., Abbasi, I., Bernhardt, N., Clemens, S., Curtis, E., Daggett, E., Hauch, J., Housh, K., Janz, A., Lindstrum, A., Luttropp, K., & Williamson, R. (2011). Short-term practice of loving-kindness meditation produces a state, but not a trait, alteration of attention. Mindfulness, 2(3), 143–153. doi: 10.1007/s12671-011-0053-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Short, E. B., Kose, S., Mu, Q., Borckardt, J., Newberg, A., George, M. S., & Kozel, F. A. (2010). Regional brain activation during meditation shows time and practice effects: an exploratory fMRI study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7(1), 121–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Walach, H., Buchheld, N., Buttenmuller, V., Kleinknecht, N., & Schmidt, S. (2006). Measuring mindfulness—the Freiburg mindfulness inventory (FMI). Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1543–1555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. U. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. May
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jared R. Weyker
    • 1
  • Stephanie K. Spengel
    • 1
  • Lisa J. Finkler
    • 1
  • Scott E. Hendrix
    • 2
  1. 1.Life Sciences DepartmentCarroll UniversityWaukeshaUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryCarroll UniversityWaukeshaUSA

Personalised recommendations