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Considerable evidence exists to support an association between psychological states and immune function. However, the mechanisms by which such states are instantiated in the brain and influence the immune system are poorly understood. The present study investigated relations among physiological measures of affective style, psychological well being, and immune function. Negative and positive affect were elicited by using an autobiographical writing task. Electroencephalography and affect-modulated eye-blink startle were used to measure trait and state negative affect. Participants were vaccinated for influenza, and antibody titers after the vaccine were assayed to provide an in vivo measure of immune function. Higher levels of right-prefrontal electroencephalographic activation and greater magnitude of the startle reflex reliably predicted poorer immune response. These data support the hypothesis that individuals characterized by a more negative affective style mount a weaker immune response and therefore may be at greater risk for illness than those with a more positive affective style.
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Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geo-engineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.

OBJECTIVES: To assess outcomes of veterans who participated in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).DESIGN: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression, functional status, behavioral activation, experiential avoidance, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline, and 2 and 6 months after enrollment. RESULTS: At 6 months, there were significant improvements in PTSD symptoms (standardized effect size, d = -0.64, p< 0.001); depression (d = -0.70, p<0.001); behavioral activation (d = 0.62, p<0.001); mental component summary score of the Short Form-8 (d = 0.72, p<0.001); acceptance (d = 0.67, p<0.001); and mindfulness (d = 0.78, p<0.001), and 47.7% of veterans had clinically significant improvements in PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: MBSR shows promise as an intervention for PTSD and warrants further study in randomized controlled trials.

OBJECTIVES:To assess outcomes of veterans who participated in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). DESIGN: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression, functional status, behavioral activation, experiential avoidance, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline, and 2 and 6 months after enrollment. RESULTS: At 6 months, there were significant improvements in PTSD symptoms (standardized effect size, d = -0.64, p< 0.001); depression (d = -0.70, p<0.001); behavioral activation (d = 0.62, p<0.001); mental component summary score of the Short Form-8 (d = 0.72, p<0.001); acceptance (d = 0.67, p<0.001); and mindfulness (d = 0.78, p<0.001), and 47.7% of veterans had clinically significant improvements in PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: MBSR shows promise as an intervention for PTSD and warrants further study in randomized controlled trials.

OBJECTIVES: To assess outcomes of veterans who participated in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).DESIGN: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression, functional status, behavioral activation, experiential avoidance, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline, and 2 and 6 months after enrollment. RESULTS: At 6 months, there were significant improvements in PTSD symptoms (standardized effect size, d = -0.64, p< 0.001); depression (d = -0.70, p<0.001); behavioral activation (d = 0.62, p<0.001); mental component summary score of the Short Form-8 (d = 0.72, p<0.001); acceptance (d = 0.67, p<0.001); and mindfulness (d = 0.78, p<0.001), and 47.7% of veterans had clinically significant improvements in PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: MBSR shows promise as an intervention for PTSD and warrants further study in randomized controlled trials.

Self-compassion, mindfulness, and psychological inflexibility, constructs associated with mindfulness-based interventions, have demonstrated associations with multiple aspects of psychological health. However, a very limited body of research has analyzed the relative predictive strength among mindfulness-related constructs. Regression analyses were performed to determine the common and unique variance in psychological health predicted by these constructs and to compare their relative predictive strength in a nonclinical sample of 147 undergraduate students at a Mid-Atlantic university. Consistent with previous research, self-compassion demonstrated a stronger ability than single-factor mindfulness to predict variance in psychological health. However, results were mixed when a multifaceted measure of mindfulness was considered. Self-compassion predicted greater variance than multifaceted mindfulness when prediction was based on one total score, but not when individual subscales were analyzed. Psychological inflexibility predicted greater variance than did self-compassion for negative indicators of psychological health. Results suggest that self-compassion and psychological inflexibility may demonstrate greater associations with psychological health than single scores of mindfulness and that important predictive power is lost, particularly from the nonreactivity facet, when multifaceted mindfulness is consolidated into a single score.

Undergraduate and graduate students show elevated levels of stress and could thus benefit from mindfulness interventions, but the best way to teach mindfulness has not been established. The present study compared a stress management program that used formal meditations and informal practice (Mindful Stress Management; MSM) to one that used brief mindfulness exercises and informal practice (Mindful Stress Management-Informal; MSM-I), and a wait-list control. MSM participants exhibited significant within-group changes on all measures, and when compared to the wait-list control, greater levels of mindfulness, decentering, and self-compassion, as well as lower stress. Students in MSM-I had significant within-group changes on a subset of measures, and greater mindfulness and self-compassion compared to the wait-list. MSM participants showed more improvement in self-compassion, psychological inflexibility, and stress than did those in MSM-I. Mediational analyses found increases in one facet of mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreases in worry mediated reductions in stress for MSM participants, while no mediator reached significance for MSM-I. Finally, no significant relation between amount of formal meditation and informal practice and reductions in psychological distress or increases in mindfulness was found. Results suggest that a program with formal meditations and informal practice may be a more promising intervention for university student stress than one with brief mindfulness exercises and informal practice.

Greater levels of conscientiousness have been associated with lower levels of negative affect. We focus on one mechanism through which conscientiousness may decrease negative affect: effective emotion regulation, as reflected by greater recovery from negative stimuli. In 273 adults who were 35-85 years old, we collected self-report measures of personality including conscientiousness and its self-control facet, followed on average 2 years later by psychophysiological measures of emotional reactivity and recovery. Among middle-aged adults (35-65 years old), the measures of conscientiousness and self-control predicted greater recovery from, but not reactivity to, negative emotional stimuli. The effect of conscientiousness and self-control on recovery was not driven by other personality variables or by greater task adherence on the part of high conscientiousness individuals. In addition, the effect was specific to negative emotional stimuli and did not hold for neutral or positive emotional stimuli.
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<p>Contemplative practices are believed to alleviate psychological problems, cultivate prosocial behavior and promote self-awareness. In addition, psychological science has developed tools and models for understanding the mind and promoting well-being. Additional effort is needed to combine frameworks and techniques from these traditions to improve emotional experience and socioemotional behavior. An 8-week intensive (42 hr) meditation/emotion regulation training intervention was designed by experts in contemplative traditions and emotion science to reduce “destructive enactment of emotions” and enhance prosocial responses. Participants were 82 healthy female schoolteachers who were randomly assigned to a training group or a wait-list control group, and assessed preassessment, postassessment, and 5 months after training completion. Assessments included self-reports and experimental tasks to capture changes in emotional behavior. The training group reported reduced trait negative affect, rumination, depression, and anxiety, and increased trait positive affect and mindfulness compared to the control group. On a series of behavioral tasks, the training increased recognition of emotions in others (Micro-Expression Training Tool), protected trainees from some of the psychophysiological effects of an experimental threat to self (Trier Social Stress Test; TSST), appeared to activate cognitive networks associated with compassion (lexical decision procedure), and affected hostile behavior in the Marital Interaction Task. Most effects at postassessment that were examined at follow-up were maintained (excluding positive affect, TSST rumination, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia recovery). Findings suggest that increased awareness of mental processes can influence emotional behavior, and they support the benefit of integrating contemplative theories/practices with psychological models and methods of emotion regulation.</p>

<p>Thinking, particularly reflective thinking or inquiry, is essential to both teachers’ and students’ learning. In the past 10 to 15 years numerous commissions, boards, and foundations as well as states and local school districts have identified reflection 0 inquiry as a standard toward which all teachers and students must strive. However, although the cry for accomplishment in systematic, reflective thinking is clear, it is more difficult to distinguish what systematic, reflective thinking is. There are four problems associated with this lack of definition that make achievement of such a standard difficult. First, it is unclear how systematic reflection is different from other types of thought. Second, it is difficult to assess a skill that is vaguely defined. Third, without a clear picture of what reflection looks like, it has lost its ability to be seen and therefore has begun to lose its value. And finally, without a clear definition, it is difficult to research the effects of reflective teacher education and professional development on teachers’ practice and students’ learning. It is the purpose of this article to restore some clarity to the concept of reflection and what it means to think, by going back to the roots of reflection in the work of John Dewey. I look at four distinct criteria that characterize Dewey’s view and offer the criteria as a starting place for talking about reflection, so that it might be taught, learned, assessed, discussed, and researched, and thereby evolve in definition and practice, rather than disappear.</p>

Social neuroscience research has resulted in changing views of the theory of mind (ToM) construct. Theory of mind is no longer viewed as a unitary construct, but rather as a multidimensional construct comprising cognitive and affective ToM and interpersonal and intrapersonal ToM, each of which has differing neurophysiological/neuroanatomical foundations and behavioral manifestations. Clinicians working with persons with social communication/pragmatic communication disorders should consider evaluating these dimensions of ToM and the cognitive, social–emotional, and language components underlying them. Then they might use this information to develop a ToM profile for each client so they are better able to implement specific intervention strategies to target the linguistic and cognitive/affective foundations for ToM development. In this article, we describe the characteristics of developmental stages of affective and cognitive and interpersonal and intrapersonal ToM and how to match intervention goals and strategies to those stages. Some activities and strategies have empirical support; others are based on what is known about typical development and patterns of impairment.

OBJECTIVE: To assess outcomes associated with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for veterans with PTSD.METHODS: Forty-seven veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 37 male, 32 Caucasian) were randomized to treatment as usual (TAU; n = 22), or MBSR plus TAU (n = 25). PTSD, depression, and mental health-related quality of life (HRQOL) were assessed at baseline, posttreatment, and 4-month follow-up. Standardized effect sizes and the proportion with clinically meaningful changes in outcomes were calculated. RESULTS: Intention-to-treat analyses found no reliable effects of MBSR on PTSD or depression. Mental HRQOL improved posttreatment but there was no reliable effect at 4 months. At 4-month follow-up, more veterans randomized to MBSR had clinically meaningful change in mental HRQOL, and in both mental HRQOL and PTSD symptoms. Completer analyses (≥ 4 classes attended) showed medium to large between group effect sizes for depression, mental HRQOL, and mindfulness skills. CONCLUSIONS: Additional studies are warranted to assess MBSR for veterans with PTSD.

OBJECTIVE: To assess outcomes associated with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for veterans with PTSD.METHODS: Forty-seven veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 37 male, 32 Caucasian) were randomized to treatment as usual (TAU; n = 22), or MBSR plus TAU (n = 25). PTSD, depression, and mental health-related quality of life (HRQOL) were assessed at baseline, posttreatment, and 4-month follow-up. Standardized effect sizes and the proportion with clinically meaningful changes in outcomes were calculated. RESULTS: Intention-to-treat analyses found no reliable effects of MBSR on PTSD or depression. Mental HRQOL improved posttreatment but there was no reliable effect at 4 months. At 4-month follow-up, more veterans randomized to MBSR had clinically meaningful change in mental HRQOL, and in both mental HRQOL and PTSD symptoms. Completer analyses (≥ 4 classes attended) showed medium to large between group effect sizes for depression, mental HRQOL, and mindfulness skills. CONCLUSIONS: Additional studies are warranted to assess MBSR for veterans with PTSD.

To investigate the existence of true altruism, the authors assessed the link between empathic concern and helping by (a) employing an experimental perspective-taking paradigm used previously to demonstrate empathy-associated helping and (b) assessing the empathy-helping relationship while controlling for a range of relevant, well-measured nonaltruistic motivations. Consistent with previous research, the authors found a significant zero-order relationship between helping and empathic concern, the purported motivator of true altruism. This empathy-helping relationship disappeared, however, when nonaltruistic motivators (oneness and negative affect) were taken into account: Only the nonaltruistic factors of oneness (merged identity with the victim) and negative affect mediated helping, whereas empathic concern did not. Evidence for true altruism remains elusive.

Although it's not a cure, yoga can help you survive cancer with strength, hope, and vitality.

Background. Complementary and integrative health approaches such as yoga provide support for psychosocial health. We explored the effects of group-based yoga classes offered through an integrative medicine center at a comprehensive cancer center. Methods. Patients and caregivers had access to two yoga group classes: a lower intensity (YLow) or higher intensity (YHigh) class. Participants completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS; scale 0-10, 10 most severe) immediately before and after the class. ESAS subscales analyzed included global (GDS; score 0-90), physical (PHS; 0-60), and psychological distress (PSS; 0-20). Data were analyzed examining pre-yoga and post-yoga symptom scores using paired t-tests and between types of classes using ANOVAs. Results. From July 18, 2016, to August 8, 2017, 282 unique participants (205 patients, 77 caregivers; 85% female; ages 20-79 years) attended one or more yoga groups (mean 2.3). For all participants, we observed clinically significant reduction/improvement in GDS, PHS, and PSS scores and in symptoms (ESAS decrease >= 1; means) of anxiety, fatigue, well-being, depression, appetite, drowsiness, and sleep. Clinically significant improvement for both patients and caregivers was observed for anxiety, depression, fatigue, well-being, and all ESAS subscales. Comparing yoga groups, YLow contributed to greater improvement in sleep versus YHigh (-1.33 vs -0.50, P = .054). Improvement in fatigue for YLow was the greatest mean change (YLow -2.12). Conclusion. A single yoga group class resulted in clinically meaningful improvement of multiple self-reported symptoms. Further research is needed to better understand how yoga class content, intensity, and duration can affect outcomes.

We evaluated the association between social support received from significant others, family, and friends and HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among African American men involved in the criminal justice system. Project DISRUPT is a cohort study among African American men released from prison in North Carolina (N = 189). During the baseline (in-prison) survey, we assessed the amount of support men perceived they had received from significant others, family, and friends. We measured associations between low support from each source (<median value) and participants’ sex risk in the 6 months before incarceration. Low levels of social support from significant others, family, or friends were associated with poverty and homelessness, mental disorders, and substance use. Adjusting for age, poverty, and other sources of support, perceiving low support from significant others was strongly associated with multiple partnerships (fully adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29–5.42). Low significant other support also was strongly associated with sex trade involvement when adjusting for age and poverty status (adjusted OR 3.51, 95% CI 1.25–9.85) but further adjustment for low family and friend support weakened the association (fully adjusted OR 2.81, 95% CI 0.92–8.55). Significant other support was not associated with other sex risk outcomes including concurrent partnerships, anal sex, or sex with an STI/HIV-infected partner. Low family support was associated with multiple partnerships in analyses adjusting for age and poverty (adjusted OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.05–3.76) but the association weakened and was no longer significant after adjusting for other sources of support (fully adjusted OR 1.40, 95% CI 0.65–3.00); family support was not correlated with other risk behaviors. Friend support was not significantly associated with sex risk outcomes. Indicators of overall support from any source were not associated with sex risk outcomes. Helping inmates maintain ties may improve economic security and well-being during community re-entry, while supporting and strengthening relationships with a significant other in particular may help reduce sex risk. Studies should evaluate the protective effects of distinct support sources to avoid masking effects of support and to best understand the influence of social support on health.

Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), an emotion skills and mindfulness intervention, improved wellbeing in a sample of teachers. Two studies examined whether such gain is associated with improvements in classrooms. Study 1 examined post-intervention differences in 20 dimensions of classroom climate (N = 21). CEB teachers were rated higher in productivity than controls. Study 2 was a randomized, controlled pilot trial of 35 teachers with longitudinal assessments of classroom climate, wellbeing, and attitudes towards challenging students. Although the CEB group reported more mindful observing compared to the control group at follow-up, the groups did not differ on classroom climate or attitudes. (Contains 6 tables and 1 figure.)

This investigation examined the interaction of disengagement coping with HIV/AIDS-related stigma and mindful-based attention and awareness in regard to anxiety and depressive symptoms among people with HIV/AIDS. There was a significant interaction in regard to anxiety symptoms. Higher levels of disengagement coping paired with lower levels of mindful-based attention and awareness was related to the greatest degrees of anxiety symptoms, while lower levels of disengagement coping paired with higher levels of mindful-based attention and awareness was related to the lowest levels of anxiety symptoms. Although the interaction for depressive symptoms was not significant, a similar pattern of results was observed.

Family homelessness is associated with adverse outcomes in mothers and their young children. Evidence‐based programs are needed to support the socioemotional needs of these families. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceived benefits of participating in a mindfulness program in mother–child dyads receiving services at a therapeutic nursery serving homeless children under the age of 3 years. A convenience sample of 17 predominantly African American mothers participated in in‐depth qualitative interviews. Four themes were derived from the data regarding the perceived benefits of the mindfulness program: “me” time, maternal self‐regulation, dyadic connectedness, and child well‐being. Results demonstrate the perceived benefits of mindfulness on the parent–child relationship and have important implications for families at an increased risk of adverse outcomes. Because homelessness and residential instability confer considerable risk for young children, interventions to support effective parenting are critical.

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