Abstract This article is an ethnography of the private performance of the five daily prayers of Islam among a group of middle class, educated women in Tehran. It goes beyond the public and formal spheres to explore religious experience in everyday life. What happens in a ritual when performed alone, without a public? I argue against the prevalent notion that repetition renders the formulas of rituals meaningless. Instead, over time, there is a proliferation of meanings emerging as a result of the undermining of the formality of the text by repetition. The ways in which creativity is exercised are analyzed in answer to the question of what makes one prayer session more satisfying than another—what is an efficacious salat? I argue that the length of time the prayers have been performed, the age of the reciter, and the literate practices of reading and debate are crucial in understanding how this ritual is brought to life by its practitioners.
Virtually all developmental neuropsychiatric disorders involve some dysfunction or dysregulation of emotion. Moreover, many psychiatric disorders with adult onset have early subclinical manifestations in children. This essay selectively reviews the literature on the neuroimaging of affect and disorders of affect in children. Some critical definitional and conceptual issues are first addressed, including the distinctions between the perception and production of emotion and between emotional states and traits. Developmental changes in morphometric measures of brain structure are then discussed and the implications of such findings for studies of functional brain activity are considered. Data on functional neuroimaging and childhood depression are then reviewed. While the extant data in this area are meager, they are consistent with studies in adults that have observed decreased left-sided anterolateral prefrontal cortex activation in depression. Studies in children on the recognition of emotion and affective intent in faces using functional magnetic resonance imaging are then reviewed. These findings indicate that the amygdala plays an important role in such affective face processing in children, similar to the patterns of activation observed in adults. Moreover, one study has reported abnormalities in amygdala activation during a task requiring the judgment of affective intent from the eye region of the face in subjects with autism. Some of the methodological complexities of developmental research in this area are discussed, and directions for future research are suggested.
Contemporary approaches to pre-service teacher education and in-service teachers' professional development increasingly reflect the general paradigm swing in education, advocating for dialogic co-construction of understandings of teaching and learning rather than monologic telling of how to be a teacher or how to improve teaching practice. However, teacher-learners sometimes have difficulty adapting to the different stance required of them to participate effectively in this change of approach. Successfully facilitating the development of learners to take an active, inquiry stance requires engaging in the process of development of oneself: being open to new approaches, being prepared to be uncomfortable and being willing to extend one's comfort zone as a teacher educator. In this self-study project, I use iterations of poetry writing and reflection to document my introduction to Dialogical Self Theory (DST) and the development that these explorations provoke. By exploring different perspectives of why learners sometimes ask teachers to "Just tell us," I have become more thoughtful about the nature of dialogue and how this might be supported in engaging with learners. I argue that using DST as an analytical tool has not only provided meaningful personal insights that have affected my own professional practice as a new teacher educator, but also shown potential for facilitating the development of teachers at all stages of their professional becoming.
Although previous research has demonstrated that procrastinators experience high levels of stress, less is known about why procrastination is linked to stress. This study is the first to investigate self-compassion as a mediator of the relationship between trait procrastination and stress. Across four samples (145 undergraduates, 339, undergraduates, 190 undergraduates, and 94 community adults) trait procrastination was associated with lower levels of self-compassion and higher levels of stress. A meta-analysis of these effects revealed a moderate negative association of procrastination with self-compassion. In all four samples, self-compassion mediated the relationship between stress and procrastination. These findings suggest that lower levels of self-compassion may explain some of the stress experienced by procrastinators and interventions that promote self-compassion could therefore be beneficial for these individuals.
The ‘problem of other minds’ is central to sociological theory and of immediate importance to contemporary research on subjectivity and interiority. How do we cultivate and maintain an intersubjective space during silent, private, experiences? Drawing on Alfred Schutz’s phenomenology, this study challenges the common view which regards silence as an obstacle to social relations. The data consist of two years of participant observation of vipassana meditation practices in Israel and the United States. Vipassana meditation is conducted in complete silence, discouraging group sharing of meditation experiences, thus offering an extreme case of silence and privacy. The findings illustrate how, despite the absence of direct verbal communication, the practice of meditation still holds important intersubjective dimensions. I suggest that covert mechanisms of silent intersubjectivity play an important role in everyday social life and require further ethnographic attention.
CONTEXT: School-based mindfulness and yoga studies generally measure stress-related outcomes using quantitative measures. OBJECTIVE: This study answers the following research questions: How do youth define stress and in what ways, if any, was a mindful yoga intervention helpful to youth during stress experiences? DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: To explore youths' own perspectives on stress, stressors in youths' lives, and perceived changes in responses to stress post-intervention, we conducted focus group discussions with 22 middle school students from low-income urban communities following a 16-week mindful yoga intervention. RESULTS: Using thematic analysis, the following three themes emerged: (1) youth conflated stress with negative emotions; (2) peer and family conflicts were common stressors; and (3) youth reported improved impulse control and emotional regulation following the intervention. Study findings have implications for refining intervention content (e.g., discussions of stress), as well as informing the selection and development of quantitative measures for future research on stress and stress responses in urban youth.
Abstract This article presents a model of the structure of emotion developed primarily from a consideration of neuropsychological evidence and behavioural data which have bearing on neuropsychological theories. Valence is first considered and highlighted as a defining characteristic of emotion. Next, the use of facial behaviour and autonomic nervous system patterns as defining characteristics of discrete emotions is questioned on empirical and conceptual grounds. The regulation of emotion is considered and proposed to affect the very structure of emotion itself. If there is an invariant pattern of biological activity across different instantiations of the same emotion, it is likely to be found in higher-order associative networks of central nervous system activity, the very same networks that subserve goal-directed behaviour and other cognitive functions. Drawing upon evolutionary considerations, it is argued that what is basic about emotion are the dimensions of approach and withdrawal. The nature of the linkage between such action tendencies and emotion is discussed.
Marital stress is associated with a higher incidence of psychiatric disorders, in particular major depression. One pathway through which marital stress may impact emotional health is by compromising emotion-responding processes. We examined a longitudinal sample of adults (N = 116; 59 males; 39-84 years) to verify how marital stress predicts reactivity to, and recovery from, emotional provocation. Individuals watched positive, neutral, and negative pictures while an objective measure of affective state, corrugator supercilii muscle activity, was recorded continuously. Our results indicate that marital stress is associated with short-lived responses to positive pictures, indexed by a less persistent decrease in corrugator activity after picture offset. Extending beyond the prior focus on negative emotional processes, these results suggest that social stress may impact health by influencing the time course of responding to positive events.
BACKGROUND: All therapists direct their attention in some manner during psychotherapy. A special form of directing attention, 'mindfulness', is recommended. This study aimed to examine whether, and to what extent, promoting mindfulness in psychotherapists in training (PiT) influences the treatment results of their patients. METHODS: The therapeutic course and treatment results of 124 inpatients, who were treated for 9 weeks by 18 PiTs, were compared. The PiTs were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (i) those practicing Zen meditation (MED; n = 9 or (ii) control group, which did not perform meditation (noMED; n = 9). The results of treatment (according to the intent-to-treat principle) were examined using the Session Questionnaire for General and Differential Individual Psychotherapy (STEP), the Questionnaire of Changes in Experience and Behavior (VEV) and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R). RESULTS: Compared to the noMED group (n = 61), the patients of PiTs from the MED group (n = 63) had significantly higher evaluations (according to the intent-to-treat principle) for individual therapy on 2 STEP scales, clarification and problem-solving perspectives. Their evaluations were also significantly higher for the entire therapeutic result on the VEV. Furthermore, the MED group showed greater symptom reduction than the noMED group on the Global Severity Index and 8 SCL-90-R scales, including Somatization, Insecurity in Social Contact, Obsessiveness, Anxiety, Anger/Hostility, Phobic Anxiety, Paranoid Thinking and Psychoticism. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that promoting mindfulness in PiTs could positively influence the therapeutic course and treatment results in their patients.
To facilitate visual search of complex scenes, information arising from recently attended locations is subject to a selective inhibition in processing known as inhibition of return (IOR). Although the mechanisms of IOR remain unresolved, both motor and perceptual influences have been proposed based on reaction time (RT) studies. Here we report the results of two reflexive cuing studies in which signal detection methodology was employed to directly examine the effects of IOR on perception. IOR was found to be associated with a significant reduction in the accuracy of target discriminations at recently attended locations. Further, these effects of IOR on response accuracy were independent of whether emphasis was placed on the speed of responding. These results provide the first direct evidence that IOR can affect the perceptual quality of visual processing.
We evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of the Community Approach to Learning Mindfully (CALM) program for educators. CALM is a brief daily school-based intervention to promote educator social-emotional competencies, stress management, and wellbeing. Two middle schools were randomly assigned to waitlist control condition or the CALM program. Participants included 64 educators. Intervention sessions included gentle yoga and mindfulness practices and were offered 4 days per week for 16 weeks. Pre- and posttest measurements included self-report surveys of social-emotional functioning and wellbeing, blood pressure readings, and diurnal assays of cortisol. Compared to the control condition, CALM had significant benefits for educators’ mindfulness, positive affect, classroom management, distress tolerance, physical symptoms, blood pressure, and cortisol awakening response. There were trend-level effects for two measures related to stress and burnout. No impacts were observed for relational trust, perceived stress, or sleep. Effect sizes for significant impacts ranged from 0.52 to 0.80. Educators found the intervention feasible and beneficial as a method for managing stress and promoting wellbeing. Initial evidence suggests that CALM has potential as a strategy to improve educators’ social-emotional competence and wellbeing, prevent stress-related problems, and support classroom functioning.
The authors propose a model of the prosocial classroom that highlights the importance of teachers’ social and emotional competence (SEC) and well-being in the development and maintenance of supportive teacher–student relationships, effective classroom management, and successful social and emotional learning program implementation. This model proposes that these factors contribute to creating a classroom climate that is more conducive to learning and that promotes positive developmental outcomes among students. Furthermore, this article reviews current research suggesting a relationship between SEC and teacher burnout and reviews intervention efforts to support teachers’ SEC through stress reduction and mindfulness programs. Finally, the authors propose a research agenda to address the potential efficacy of intervention strategies designed to promote teacher SEC and improved learning outcomes for students.
Yoga has been found to be effective in treating anxiety and depression, reducing stress and improving the overall quality of life in the general population. Minimal research is available on the effect of stress-management programmes with IVF patients. Owing to the diversity of conditions treated, the poor quality of most studies, and the different assessment tools used to evaluate the psychological state, it is difficult to draw definite conclusions. Previous studies have used different mind-body interventions and general measures of stress without evaluation of specific stresses known to result from infertility and its treatment using standardized measures. In this single-centre study, 49 infertile women were recruited to participate in a 6-week Yoga class during 2013 while awaiting their IVF treatment. Study participants were asked to complete standardized questionnaires assessing fertility-related quality of life (FertiQoL), marital harmony (Dyadic Adjustment Scale [DAS]), state and trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI]) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI]) before commencing and after completing the Yoga workshops. Anxiety, depression and fertility-specific quality of life showed improvement over time in association with participation in a 6-week Yoga programme in women awaiting their treatment with IVF.
The Indo-Tibetan tradition claims that proficiency in the suggested longevity practices of meditation, diet, and physical exercise (yoga), will result in profound anti-aging, stress-mediating and health enhancing effects. Western biomedical research has begun to demonstrate that the psychobiological states induced and cultivated by cognitive behavioral practices which are emblematic of those contained within the Indo-Tibetan tradition (hypnosis, meditation, visualization, systematic relaxation), indeed do have a profound impact on the body's protective and regulatory systems. Although continued study is necessary, much of the early research illuminating the mechanisms responsible for the life-span extending and health-enhancing effects of these cognitive behavioral practices points to the importance of their anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, and antioxidant effects as well as their impact in enhancing the production of endogenous substances that possess general longevity-enhancing, regenerative properties.
Because many educators experience stress and burnout, identifying factors that promote health and well-being among teachers and school staff is critical. Educators mindfulness is one aspect of social-emotional competence that may protect them from experiencing burnout and its negative consequences. In the current study, 64 educators completed self-report measures of mindfulness, burnout, affect, sleep-related impairment, daily physical symptoms, stress, and ambition. Results of cross-sectional analyses indicated that educators mindfulness had strong, consistent negative associations with three widely-studied components of burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and low personal accomplishment. The link between mindfulness and burnout was partially explained by affect, sleep-related impairment, and daily physical symptoms. In addition, the protective effect of mindfulness was most pronounced among more stressed and more ambitious educators. This study adds to accumulating evidence that mindfulness promotes resilience in educators and may foster healthy educators, classrooms, and students.
Levels of stress in UK university students are high, with an increase in the proportion of students seeking help in recent years. Academic pressure is reported as a major trigger. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce stress and is popular among students, but its effectiveness in this context needs to be ascertained. In this pragmatic randomised controlled trial, we hypothesise that the provision of a preventative mindfulness intervention in universities could reduce students' psychological distress during the examination period (primary outcome), improve their resilience to stress up to at least 1 year later, reduce their use of mental health support services and improve academic performance.