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Mindfulness and Body Awareness in Depersonalization Disorder


Anomalous bodily experiences and automaton-like feelings constitute some of the core symptoms of depersonalization disorder (DP), features which may be considered antithetical to mindfulness. We thus investigated traits in a random sample of 22 stable patients with DP using the 14-item Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) and predicted an overall negative correlation to their symptomatology as measured by the Cambridge Depersonalization Scale (CDS). We also conducted a regression analysis in order to elucidate the contribution of depression and anxiety measures on the above-mentioned correlation. Overall, the FMI and CDS were strongly negatively correlated (Pearson’s r = −.64, p < .001) as predicted, driven particularly by FMI items 1–4 and 7. The correlation withstood adjustment for depression and anxiety symptoms using regression analysis (R 2 adj = 33 %; F (1, 19) = 10.83, p < .005). In sum, our results suggest a possible impairment of mindfulness abilities in DP. Future research should explore the links between DP and psychopathology and seek to devise therapeutic interventions for DP based on mindfulness.

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The research was funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Psychiatry Research Trust and the Medical Research Council, UK. We are also grateful for the generous support of the Pilkington Family Trusts.

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Correspondence to Steffen Nestler.

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Supplementary Figure 1
figure 1

Shows non-parametric correlations between Cambridge Depersonalization Scale (trait version) and Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory—individual items. Note that item 13 is reversed-scored (‘I am impatient with myself or others’). *Significant at .05-level. **Significant at .01-level. (GIF 8 kb)

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Nestler, S., Sierra, M., Jay, EL. et al. Mindfulness and Body Awareness in Depersonalization Disorder. Mindfulness 6, 1282–1285 (2015).

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  • Depersonalisation disorder
  • Body awareness
  • Cambridge depersonalization scale
  • Freiburg mindfulness inventory
  • Depression
  • Anxiety