Differential Treatment Mechanisms in Mindfulness Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Mindfulness meditation and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) practices are both effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. To examine the mechanisms of change in mood in these two treatments, 95 participants were randomly assigned to present awareness mindfulness (PAM; N = 47) or PMR (N = 48). They were each given a 5-min audiotape of PAM or PMR and were asked to practice at least 5 min a day for 3 months. After attrition, 55 participants completed the post-intervention assessment. An additional 47 participants were assigned to a waitlist control group. Mindfulness, perceived stress, well-being, and mood symptoms were measured at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 1-month follow-up assessment periods. PAM and PMR both led to a significant improvement in mindfulness and reduction in stress. Results of the latent growth curve analyses revealed that mindfulness and non-reactivity mediated changes in mood for PAM more than for PMR. These results suggest that differential treatment mechanisms underlie PAM and PMR.
KeywordsPresent awareness mindfulness Progressive muscle relaxation Mechanisms Mediation Audio Self-help
The authors thank Leigh Andrews for the proofreading work.
The first two authors contributed equally to this paper. LYG and JC contributed to the study idea, drafting of the manuscript, and data analyses. XHL and SH contributed to the study idea and drafting of the manuscript.
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (Project 31271114). Dr. Hofmann receives support from NIH/NCCIH (R01AT007257), NIH/NIMH (R01MH099021, R34MH099311, R34MH086668, R21MH102646, R21MH101567, K23MH100259), the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Understanding Human Cognition–Special Initiative, and the Department of the Army for work unrelated to the studies reported in this article. He receives compensation for his work as an advisor from the Palo Alto Health Sciences and Otsuka Digital Health, Inc., and for his work as a Subject Matter Expert from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Silver Cloud Health, Inc. He also receives royalties and payments for his editorial work from various publishers.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study received ethical approval from the Academic Committee of College of Psychology, Capital Normal University. No adverse events were reported in this study. These participants were contacted by telephone to obtain verbal informed consent.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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