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Terror management theory posits that people tend to respond defensively to reminders of death, including worldview defense, self-esteem striving, and suppression of death thoughts. Seven experiments examined whether trait mindfulness--a disposition characterized by receptive attention to present experience--reduced defensive responses to mortality salience (MS). Under MS, less mindful individuals showed higher worldview defense (Studies 1-3) and self-esteem striving (Study 5), yet more mindful individuals did not defend a constellation of values theoretically associated with mindfulness (Study 4). To explain these findings through proximal defense processes, Study 6 showed that more mindful individuals wrote about their death for a longer period of time, which partially mediated the inverse association between trait mindfulness and worldview defense. Study 7 demonstrated that trait mindfulness predicted less suppression of death thoughts immediately following MS. The discussion highlights the relevance of mindfulness to theories that emphasize the nature of conscious processing in understanding responses to threat. Keywords: mindfulness, mortality salience, self-determination theory, terror management theory DOI: 10.1037/a0019388
Buddhism has made its way into American popular culture, particularly within the arena of death and dying. The growing influence of Buddhism on the American way of dying has been fostered through its connection with the American hospice movement. This paper describes the developing contact between Buddhism and hospice and documents the efforts of several prominent Buddhist organizations to revolutionize American death practices. The Buddhist approach to death has captured the interest of an American public attracted to its nonsectarian language of spirituality and pragmatic techniques for dealing with death.
To enhance psychological adjustment, Vipassana meditation assists individuals to perceive the transitory nature of the self. Because the consequences of this potentially troubling insight are not well understood, changes in self-concept and ego defense mechanisms of two cohorts (N1=222, N2=216) of young (M = 18.03 years) Thai participants who attended separate seven-day Vipassana meditation retreats and a nontreated control group (N = 281) were compared. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed positive gains in all areas of self-representation among meditators relative to controls (p < .001). Ego defense mechanisms of the meditation participants also underwent significant change (p < .0001) with coping becoming characterized by greater maturity and tolerance of common stressors. Increases in Buddhist beliefs were significantly correlated with heightened self-esteem and less impulsiveness (ps < .001). Theoretical and applied implications of the findings are discussed.
- Cultural Belief Contexts,
- Environmental Context,
- Classical Buddhist Contemplation Practices,
- Contemplation by Applied Subject,
- Contemplation by Tradition,
- Psychiatry and Contemplation,
- Psychotherapy and Contemplation,
- Health Care and Contemplation,
- Practices of Buddhist Contemplation,
- Insight (vipashyana, lhaktong),
- Buddhist Contemplation
A number of issues important to the clinical utility of mindfulness require systematic study. These include the most parsimonious definition of mindfulness for clinical purposes, how mindfulness is best described to be most approachable to patients, and the extent to which mindfulness shares common mechanisms with other mind-body programs. The discussion includes a brief review of the transition of mindfulness from traditional into clinical settings as well as the components commonly contained within clinical descriptions of mindfulness. A model based on facility in the use of attention is proposed, and a description of mechanisms by which attentional skill may lead to the recognition of internal associational processes and account for psychological outcomes is given. Using constructs already familiar to patients, an attention-based conception may also be more accessible to patients than more elaborate descriptions and have greater utility in identifying commonalities that mindfulness training may have with other mind-body programs.
The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) was used to examine the association between individual differences in FFFS-fear (threat detection/avoidance) and BIS-anxiety (conflict detection/cautious approach), psychological acceptance and job demands on work engagement. Moderated mediation analysis was used to test a model assessing the indirect path between BIS-anxiety/FFFS-fear and work engagement via psychological acceptance across high and low demanding jobs. Using a sample of 228 casual, part-time and full-time workers we found that FFFS-fear, rather than BIS-anxiety, predicted lower psychological acceptance which, in turn, was associated with lower work engagement; this indirect effect was only evident when the job was considered demanding. These results suggest that interventions for improving work engagement may be enhanced by targeting psychological acceptance, particularly in highly demanding jobs.
This is a personal account of the clinical work done in the Palestinian Territories by a clinical psychologist working with an international medical Non Governmental Organization (NGO). In her interventions the author used mindfulness-based therapy with people who suffered from severe psychological distress due to the political conflict. Such interventions can be therapeutic and heal deep suffering, whilst offering clients coping strategies when possibly facing other traumatic events in a situation of “chronic emergency” such as the one that people have to face in a country that has been under military occupation for over 40 years. Using a case study approach, the author discusses the intervention with two women, one suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the loss of her baby after being kept at a military check-point, and the other suffering from depression following the killing of her son. The mindfulness-based intervention allowed them to explore a therapeutic approach which helped them to overcome their symptoms and “get unstuck”.
A growing number of children are experiencing marital transition. The effects of divorce on children have typically been considered deleterious, although factors can buffer the difficulty of postdivorce adjustment. One of these factors is a positive relationship with a parental figure. Unfortunately, divorce often overwhelms parents with a series of changes that compromise their parenting skills. One new approach to improving parenting after divorce is mindful parenting, which aims to enhance interpersonal and emotional connection in the parent–child relationship. This program is intended to facilitate parents' self-awareness, their mindfulness, and their intentionality in responding to their child's needs. The present study reports on the implementation of the Mindful Parenting Program, delivered in two groups to 12 recently divorced parents with preschool-aged children. Program effectiveness was conducted on two levels. First, mindfulness measured by the Toronto Mindfulness Scale revealed significant increases over the intervention and posttest period. Second, in-home behavioral observations conducted pre- and postintervention revealed no changes in parent–child relationships. These findings are discussed within the larger context of facilitating effective parenting postdivorce. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 63: 1231–1238, 2007.
This article discusses how loving-kindness can be used to treat traumatized refugees and minority groups, focusing on examples from our treatment, culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CA-CBT). To show how we integrate loving-kindness with other mindfulness interventions and why loving-kindness should be an effective therapeutic technique, we present a typology of mindfulness states and the Nodal Network Model (NNM) of Affect and Affect Regulation. We argue that mindfulness techniques such as loving-kindness are therapeutic for refugees and minority populations because of their potential for increasing emotional flexibility, decreasing rumination, serving as emotional regulation techniques, and forming part of a new adaptive processing mode centered on psychological flexibility. We present a case to illustrate the clinical use of loving-kindness within the context of CA-CBT.
Objective This study compared changes in bodily pain, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and psychological symptoms during an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program among groups of participants with different chronic pain conditions. Methods From 1997-2003, a longitudinal investigation of chronic pain patients ( n=133) was nested within a larger prospective cohort study of heterogeneous patients participating in MBSR at a university-based Integrative Medicine center. Measures included the Short-Form 36 Health Survey and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised. Paired t tests were used to compare pre–post changes on outcome measures. Differences in treatment effect sizes were compared as a function of chronic pain condition. Correlations were examined between outcome parameters and home meditation practice. Results Outcomes differed in significance and magnitude across common chronic pain conditions. Diagnostic subgroups of patients with arthritis, back/neck pain, or two or more comorbid pain conditions demonstrated a significant change in pain intensity and functional limitations due to pain following MBSR. Participants with arthritis showed the largest treatment effects for HRQoL and psychological distress. Patients with chronic headache/migraine experienced the smallest improvement in pain and HRQoL. Patients with fibromyalgia had the smallest improvement in psychological distress. Greater home meditation practice was associated with improvement on several outcome measures, including overall psychological distress, somatization symptoms, and self-rated health, but not pain and other quality of life scales. Conclusion MBSR treatment effects on pain, HRQoL and psychological well-being vary as a function of chronic pain condition and compliance with home meditation practice.
In this interpretive study, the authors explore the experience of mindfulness among hospice caregivers who regularly practice mindfulness meditation at a Zen hospice. They explore meditative awareness constituted within themes of meditation-in-action, abiding in liminal spaces, seeing differently, and resting in groundlessness. By opening into nonconceptual, paradoxical, and uncertain dimensions of experience, hospice caregivers cultivate internal and external environments in which direct experience is increasingly held without judgment. This inquiry points to in-between spaces of human experience wherein mindfulness fosters openness and supports letting go, and creating spaces for whatever is happening in attending the living-and-dying process.
Despite the availability of various substance abuse treatments, alcohol and drug misuse and related negative consequences remain prevalent. Vipassana meditation (VM), a Buddhist mindfulness-based practice, provides an alternative for individuals who do not wish to attend or have not succeeded with traditional addiction treatments. In this study, the authors evaluated the effectiveness of a VM course on substance use and psychosocial outcomes in an incarcerated population. Results indicate that after release from jail, participants in the VM course, as compared with those in a treatment-as-usual control condition, showed significant reductions in alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine use. VM participants showed decreases in alcohol-related problems and psychiatric symptoms as well as increases in positive psychosocial outcomes. The utility of mindfulness-based treatments for substance use is discussed.