Despite the prominence of emotional dysfunction in psychopathology, relatively few experiments have explicitly studied emotion regulation in adults. The present study examined one type of emotion regulation: voluntary regulation of short-term emotional responses to unpleasant visual stimuli. In a sample of 48 college students, both eyeblink startle magnitude and corrugator activity were sensitive to experimental manipulation. Instructions to suppress negative emotion led to both smaller startle eyeblinks and decreased corrugator activity. Instructions to enhance negative emotion led to larger startle eyeblinks and increased corrugator activity. Several advantages of this experimental manipulation are discussed, including the use of both a suppress and an enhance emotion condition, independent measurement of initial emotion elicitation and subsequent regulation of that emotion, the use of a completely within-subjects design, and the use of naturalistic emotion regulation strategies.
What happens when people suppress their emotions when they sacrifice for a romantic partner? This multimethod study investigates how suppressing emotions during sacrifice shapes affective and relationship outcomes. In Part 1, dating couples came into the laboratory to discuss important romantic relationship sacrifices. Suppressing emotions was associated with emotional costs for the partner discussing his or her sacrifice. In Part 2, couples participated in a 14-day daily experience study. Within-person increases in emotional suppression during daily sacrifice were associated with decreases in emotional well-being and relationship quality as reported by both members of romantic dyads. In Part 3, suppression predicted decreases in relationship satisfaction and increases in thoughts about breaking up with a romantic partner 3 months later. In the first two parts of the study, authenticity mediated the costly effects of suppression. Implications for research on close relationships and emotion regulation are discussed.
The purpose of this study, conducted in Winter 2003, was to document academic programs and other initiatives in North American universities and colleges that incorporate transformative and spiritual elements of learning. A combination of qualitative and quantitative instruments was used for data collection. Transformative learning has historically referred to a primarily epistemic, rational process whereby adult learners become aware of their unconscious roles, beliefs, and assumptions. The operational definition of transformative learning used in this study emphasized reflective learning, the intuitive and imaginative process, and the ethical, spiritual, and/or contemplative dimensions of education. Questionnaire responses and interviews indicated that although there is great interest in bringing transformative/spiritual elements into higher education, this movement still exists primarily among individual faculty within classrooms rather than as a departmental or institutional strategy. However, there are a number of notable initiatives in mainstream educational institutions. Survey participants were also asked about strategies that would support the transformative learning movement.
Background Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a secular form of meditation training. The vast majority of the extant literature investigating the health effects of mindfulness interventions relies on wait-list control comparisons. Previous studies have found that meditation training over several months is associated with improvements in cognitive control and attention. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a visual continuous performance task (CPT) to test the effects of eight weeks of mindfulness training on sustained attention by comparing MBSR to the Health Enhancement Program (HEP), a structurally equivalent, active control condition in a randomized, longitudinal design (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01301105) focusing on a non-clinical population typical of MBSR participants. Researchers were blind to group assignment. 63 community participants were randomized to either MBSR (n = 31) or HEP (n = 32). CPT analyses were conducted on 29 MBSR participants and 25 HEP participants. We predicted that MBSR would improve visual discrimination ability and sustained attention over time on the CPT compared to HEP, with more home practice associated with greater improvements. Our hypotheses were not confirmed but we did find some evidence for improved visual discrimination similar to effects in partial replication of other research. Our study had sufficient power to demonstrate that intervention groups do not differ in their improvement over time in sustained attention performance. One of our primary predictions concerning the effects of intervention on attentional fatigue was significant but not interpretable. Conclusions Attentional sensitivity is not affected by mindfulness practice as taught in MBSR, but it is unclear whether mindfulness might positively affect another aspect of attention, vigilance. These results also highlight the relevant procedural modifications required by future research to correctly investigate the role of sustained attention in similar samples. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01301105
Eudaimonic well-being—a sense of purpose, meaning, and engagement with life—is protective against psychopathology and predicts physical health, including lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Although it has been suggested that the ability to engage the neural circuitry of reward may promote well-being and mediate the relationship between well-being and health, this hypothesis has remained untested. To test this hypothesis, we had participants view positive, neutral, and negative images while fMRI data were collected. Individuals with sustained activity in the striatum and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to positive stimuli over the course of the scan session reported greater well-being and had lower cortisol output. This suggests that sustained engagement of reward circuitry in response to positive events underlies well-being and adaptive regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
About this book: The Sutta-Nipata is one of the oldest collections of Buddhist discourses in the Pali Canon, and by far one of the msot popular as well as being the most important. Written in a mixture of prose and verse, it presents a code of conduct and provides the basis for a system of moral philosophy. A prime source work, it constitutes a rational, straghtforward understanding of the ethics and psychology of Buddhism. The translator has here produced a prose version of the Sutta-Nipata which conveys the spirit of this imporant text in contemporary language, and it is therefore presented for the consideration of imaginative readers not inhibited by traditional interpretations. Thus it is hoped to stand the test of time more effectively than its predecessors.
This webpage of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society provides several sample syllabi which integrate contemplation into academic courses on a variety of subjects.
This study explored symptom distress, symptom cluster and effective symptom management strategies used for each symptom cluster among persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thai participants (n=250) with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were purposively selected to complete three questionnaires: the Personal Information Form, the Bronchitis Emphysema Symptom Checklist, and the Symptom Management Strategies Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics was used to determine symptom distress and effectiveness of management strategies, and a Principal Component Factor with a Varimax rotation was used to analyze cluster. The results revealed that the participants experienced multiple symptoms. Seven clusters of symptom distress which ran from the highest level of distress were: respiration difficulty, fatigue-related disease, sleep alteration, pain and unpleasant sensation, emotional problems, memory function decline, and respiratory muscle weakness. The most effective strategies used in each cluster were as follows: For respiration difficulty, taking bronchodilator and mucolytic drugs, inhaling corticosteroid, using the pursed lip technique, effective coughing, and deep breathing exercise. For fatigue-related disease, taking a bronchodilator, reducing activities, shortening of distance and general exercise. For sleep alteration, taking alprazolam, listening to songs or music, practicing meditation or praying or performing religious activities, and reading books. For pain and unpleasant sensation, taking non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and paracetamol. For emotional problems, taking amitryptyline, accepting their fate and getting used to symptoms, receiving family support and practicing meditation or praying or performing religious activities. Our findings suggested that nurses should enhance patients’ various skills, both in adherence to medical regimens and non-pharmacological strategies in managing multiple symptom distress among persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Further study should address the development and testing of a nursing intervention that combines various strategies for relieving symptom clusters.
Synaptic Self How Our Brains Become Who We Are. Joseph LeDoux. Viking, New York, 2002. 416 pp. $29.95, C$43.99. ISBN 0-670-03028-7. LeDoux combines perspectives from neuroscience, philosophy, literature, and the history of science to explain how human personalities are created by our brains (and, in particular, by the synaptic connectivity within them).
Purpose: To systematically review articles reporting on depression, anxiety, and burnout among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Method: Medline and PubMed were searched to identify peer-reviewed English-language studies published between January 1980 and May 2005 reporting on depression, anxiety, and burnout among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Searches used combinations of the Medical Subject Heading terms medical student and depression, depressive disorder major, depressive disorder, professional burnout, mental health, depersonalization, distress, anxiety, or emotional exhaustion. Reference lists of retrieved articles were inspected to identify relevant additional articles. Demographic information, instruments used, prevalence data on student distress, and statistically significant associations were abstracted. Results: The search identified 40 articles on medical student psychological distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, burnout, and related mental health problems) that met the authors' criteria. No studies of burnout among medical students were identified. The studies suggest a high prevalence of depression and anxiety among medical students, with levels of overall psychological distress consistently higher than in the general population and age-matched peers by the later years of training. Overall, the studies suggest psychological distress may be higher among female students. Limited data were available regarding the causes of student distress and its impact on academic performance, dropout rates, and professional development. Conclusions: Medical school is a time of significant psychological distress for physicians-in-training. Currently available information is insufficient to draw firm conclusions on the causes and consequences of student distress. Large, prospective, multicenter studies are needed to identify personal and training-related features that influence depression, anxiety, and burnout among students and explore relationships between distress and competency.
Objective. To critically review the evidence on the effectiveness of complementary therapies for patients with RA. Randomized controlled trials, published in English up to May 2011, were identified using systematic searches of bibliographic databases and searching of reference lists. Information was extracted on outcomes and statistical significance in comparison with alternative treatments and reported side effects. The methodological quality of the identified studies was determined using the Jadad scoring system. All outcomes were considered but with a focus on patient global assessment and pain reporting. Eleven eligible trials were identified covering seven therapies. Three trials that compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture reported no significant difference in pain reduction between the groups but one out of two reported an improvement in patient global assessment. Except for reduction in physicianʼs global assessment of treatment and disease activity reported in one trial, no other comparative benefit of acupuncture was seen. There were two studies on meditation and one each on autogenic training, healing therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, static magnets and tai chi. None of these trials reported positive comparative effects on pain but some positive effects on patient global assessment were noted at individual time points in the healing therapy and magnet therapy studies. A small number of other outcomes showed comparative improvement in individual trials. There were no reports of major adverse events. The very limited evidence available indicates that for none of the practitioner-based complementary therapies considered here is there good evidence of efficacy or effectiveness in the management of RA
BACKGROUND: There is considerable literature on managing depression, burden and psychological morbidity in caregivers of people with dementia (CG). Anxiety has been a relatively neglected outcome measure but may require specific interventions. OBJECTIVE: To synthesise evidence regarding interventions that reduce anxiety in CGs. METHODS: Twenty-four studies met our inclusion criteria. We rated the methodology of studies, and awarded grades of recommendation (GR) for each type of intervention according to Centre for Evidence Based Medicine guidelines, from A (highest level of evidence) to D. RESULTS: Anxiety level was the primary outcome measure in only one study and no studies were predicated on a power calculation for anxiety level. There was little evidence of efficacy for any intervention. The only RCT to report significantly reduced anxiety involved a CBT and relaxation-based intervention specifically devised to treat anxiety, and there was preliminary evidence (no randomised controlled trials) that caregiver groups involving yoga and relaxation without CBT were effective. There was grade B evidence that behavioural management, exercise therapies and respite were ineffective. LIMITATIONS: Many interventions were heterogeneous, so there is some overlap between groups. Lack of evidence of efficacy is not evidence of lack of efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: CBT and other therapies developed primarily to target depression did not effectively treat anxiety. Good RCTs are needed to specifically target anxiety which might include relaxation techniques. Some of the interventions focussed on reducing contact with the care recipients but caregivers may want to cope with caring and preliminary evidence suggests strategies to help CGs manage caring demands may be more effective.
BackgroundThe investigation of treatment mechanisms in randomized controlled trials has considerable clinical and theoretical relevance. Despite the empirical support for the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in the treatment of recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD), the specific mechanisms by which MBCT leads to therapeutic change remain unclear. Objective By means of a systematic review we evaluate how the field is progressing in its empirical investigation of mechanisms of change in MBCT for recurrent MDD. Method To identify relevant studies, a systematic search was conducted. Studies were coded and ranked for quality. Results The search produced 476 articles, of which 23 were included. In line with the theoretical premise, 12 studies found that alterations in mindfulness, rumination, worry, compassion, or meta-awareness were associated with, predicted or mediated MBCT's effect on treatment outcome. In addition, preliminary studies indicated that alterations in attention, memory specificity, self-discrepancy, emotional reactivity and momentary positive and negative affect might play a role in how MBCT exerts its clinical effects. Conclusion The results suggest that MBCT could work through some of the MBCT model's theoretically predicted mechanisms. However, there is a need for more rigorous designs that can assess greater levels of causal specificity.
Background Mindfulness meditation (MM) practices constitute an important group of meditative practices that have received growing attention. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the neurobiological changes and clinical benefits related to MM practice in psychiatric disorders, in physical illnesses and in healthy subjects.
BACKGROUND: Despite a sharp increase in the number of publications that report on treatment options for pregnancy-specific anxiety and fear of childbirth (PSA/FoB), no systematic review of nonpharmacological prenatal interventions for PSA/FoB has been published. Our team addressed this gap, as an important first step in developing guidelines and recommendations for the treatment of women with PSA/FoB. METHODS: Two databases (PubMed and Mendeley) were searched, using a combination of 42 search terms. After removing duplicates, two authors independently assessed 208 abstracts. Sixteen studies met eligibility criteria, ie, the article reported on an intervention, educational component, or treatment regime for PSA/FoB during pregnancy, and included a control group. Independent quality assessments resulted in the retention of seven studies. RESULTS: Six of seven included studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and one a quasi-experimental study. Five studies received moderate quality ratings and two strong ratings. Five of seven studies reported significant changes in PSA/FoB, as a result of the intervention. Short individual psychotherapeutic interventions (1.5-5 hours) delivered by midwives or obstetricians were effective for women with elevated childbirth fear. Interventions that were effective for pregnant women with a range of different fear/anxiety levels were childbirth education at the hospital (2 hours), prenatal Hatha yoga (8 weeks), and an 8-week prenatal education course (16 hours). CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this review can inform the development of treatment approaches to support pregnant women with PSA/FoB.
Stress related disorders such as depression and anxiety are leading sources of disability worldwide, and current treatment methods such as conventional antidepressant medications are not beneficial for all individuals. There is evidence that yoga has mood-enhancing properties possibly related to its inhibitory effects on physiological stress and inflammation, which are frequently associated with affective disorders. However the biological mechanisms via which yoga exerts its therapeutic mood-modulating effects are largely unknown. This systematic review investigates the effects of yoga on sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis regulation measures. It focuses on studies collecting physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol, peripheral cytokine expression and/or structural and functional brain measures in regions involved in stress and mood regulation. Overall the 25 randomised control studies discussed provide preliminary evidence to suggest that yoga practice leads to better regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, as well as a decrease in depressive and anxious symptoms in a range of populations. Further research is warranted to confirm these preliminary findings and facilitate implementation in clinical settings.
OBJECTIVE: Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychological disorders among children and youths. There is growing interest in intervention options for anxiety. Yoga is widely used in clinical, school, and community settings, but consolidated sources outlining its effectiveness in reducing anxiety are limited. METHOD: This systematic review examined the evidence base (1990-2014) for yoga interventions addressing anxiety among children and adolescents (ages 3-18 yr). RESULTS: We identified 2,147 references and found 80 articles that were eligible for full-text review. The final analysis included 16: 6 randomized controlled trials, 2 nonrandomized preintervention-postintervention control-group designs, 7 uncontrolled preintervention-postintervention studies, and 1 case study. CONCLUSION: Nearly all studies indicated reduced anxiety after a yoga intervention. However, because of the wide variety of study populations, limitations in some study designs, and variable outcome measures, further research is needed to enhance the ability to generalize and apply yoga to reduce anxiety.
This book takes a bold new look at ways of exploring the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness within the context of science and religion. It draws careful distinctions between four elements of the scientific tradition: science itself, scientific realism, scientific materialism, and scientism. Arguing that the metaphysical doctrine of scientific materialism has taken on the role of ersatz-religion for its adherents, it traces its development from its Greek and Judeo-Christian origins, focusing on the interrelation between the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. It also looks at scientists' long term resistance to the firsthand study of consciousness and details the ways in which subjectivity has been deemed taboo within the scientific community. In conclusion, the book draws on William James's idea for a “science of religion” that would study the nature of religious and, in particular, contemplative experience.