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Mindfulness has been associated with better psychological and physical health; although, the mechanisms of these benefits are poorly understood. We explored the role of mindfulness in stress-health pathways among undergraduates at a large public university. Participants reported on demographic and academic variables and completed data collection at two time points during the academic semester, approximately one month apart. At each collection, measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being were gathered. Students provided two days of home-based saliva collection for assessment of cortisol. Mean scores were computed for each of the measures, over the two assessments. Hierarchical multiple regressions adjusting for GPA, hours of paid employment per week, minority status, and living situation explored the impact of mindfulness in our stress-health model. Students with higher dispositional mindfulness reported significantly less perceived stress and had lower overall mean diurnal cortisol. Mindfulness was associated with greater psychological well-being. Exploratory analyses suggested that future research should explore the potential mediating or moderating relationships between mindfulness, perceived stress, and cortisol. Findings suggest that mindfulness may help attenuate both psychological and physiological stress responses to college stress.

<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>

Background: Antenatal depression and anxiety are associated with adverse obstetric and mental health outcomes, yet practicable nonpharmacological therapies, particularly for the latter, are lacking. Yoga incorporates relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that can be customized for pregnant women. This study tested the efficacy of yoga as an intervention for reducing maternal anxiety during pregnancy. Methods: Fifty-nine primiparous, low-risk pregnant women completed questionnaires assessing state (State Trait Anxiety Inventory; STAI-State), trait (STAI-Trait), and pregnancy-specific anxiety (Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire; WDEQ) and depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; EPDS) before randomization (baseline) to either an 8-week course of antenatal yoga or treatment-as-usual (TAU); both groups repeated the questionnaires at follow-up. The yoga group also completed pre- and postsession state anxiety and stress hormone assessments at both the first and last session of the 8-week course. Results: A single session of yoga reduced both subjective and physiological measures of state anxiety (STAI-S and cortisol); and this class-induced reduction in anxiety remained at the final session of the intervention. Multiple linear regression analyses identified allocation to yoga as predictive of greater reduction in WDEQ scores (B = -9.59; BCa 95% CI = -18.25 to -0.43; P = .014; d = -0.57), while allocation to TAU was predictive of significantly increased elevation in EPDS scores (B = -3.06; BCa 95% CI = -5.9 to -0.17; P = .042; d = -0.5). No significant differences were observed in state or trait anxiety scores between baseline and follow-up. Conclusion: Antenatal yoga seems to be useful for reducing women's anxieties toward childbirth and preventing increases in depressive symptomatology. (C) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Background: Antenatal depression and anxiety are associated with adverse obstetric and mental health outcomes, yet practicable nonpharmacological therapies, particularly for the latter, are lacking. Yoga incorporates relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that can be customized for pregnant women. This study tested the efficacy of yoga as an intervention for reducing maternal anxiety during pregnancy. Methods: Fifty-nine primiparous, low-risk pregnant women completed questionnaires assessing state (State Trait Anxiety Inventory; STAI-State), trait (STAI-Trait), and pregnancy-specific anxiety (Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire; WDEQ) and depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; EPDS) before randomization (baseline) to either an 8-week course of antenatal yoga or treatment-as-usual (TAU); both groups repeated the questionnaires at follow-up. The yoga group also completed pre- and postsession state anxiety and stress hormone assessments at both the first and last session of the 8-week course. Results: A single session of yoga reduced both subjective and physiological measures of state anxiety (STAI-S and cortisol); and this class-induced reduction in anxiety remained at the final session of the intervention. Multiple linear regression analyses identified allocation to yoga as predictive of greater reduction in WDEQ scores (B = -9.59; BCa 95% CI = -18.25 to -0.43; P = .014; d = -0.57), while allocation to TAU was predictive of significantly increased elevation in EPDS scores (B = -3.06; BCa 95% CI = -5.9 to -0.17; P = .042; d = -0.5). No significant differences were observed in state or trait anxiety scores between baseline and follow-up. Conclusion: Antenatal yoga seems to be useful for reducing women's anxieties toward childbirth and preventing increases in depressive symptomatology. (C) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PURPOSE: A growing number of cancer survivors suffer high levels of distress, depression and stress, as well as sleep disturbance, pain and fatigue. Two different mind-body interventions helpful for treating these problems are Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) and Tai Chi/Qigong (TCQ). However, while both interventions show efficacy compared to usual care, they have never been evaluated in the same study or directly compared. This study will be the first to incorporate innovative design features including patient choice while evaluating two interventions to treat distressed cancer survivors. It will also allow for secondary analyses of which program best targets specific symptoms in particular groups of survivors, based on preferences and baseline characteristics.METHODS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The design is a preference-based multi-site randomized comparative effectiveness trial. Participants (N=600) with a preference for either MBCR or TCQ will receive their preferred intervention; while those without a preference will be randomized into either intervention. Further, within the preference and non-preference groups, participants will be randomized into immediate intervention or wait-list control. Total mood disturbance on the Profile of mood states (POMS) post-intervention is the primary outcome. Other measures taken pre- and post-intervention and at 6-month follow-up include quality of life, psychological functioning, cancer-related symptoms and physical functioning. Exploratory analyses investigate biomarkers (cortisol, cytokines, blood pressure/Heart Rate Variability, telomere length, gene expression), which may uncover potentially important effects on key biological regulatory and antineoplastic functions. Health economic measures will determine potential savings to the health system.

<p>BACKGROUND: Adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) frequently experience interference with everyday activities. Mind-body approaches such as yoga have been recommended as interventions for patients with IBS. Despite promising results among adult samples, there have been limited studies exploring the efficacy of yoga with pediatric patients. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a preliminary randomized study of yoga as treatment for adolescents with IBS. METHODS: Twenty-five adolescents aged 11 to 18 years with IBS were randomly assigned to either a yoga or wait list control group. Before the intervention, both groups completed questionnaires assessing gastrointestinal symptoms, pain, functional disability, coping, anxiety and depression. The yoga intervention consisted of a 1 h instructional session, demonstration and practice, followed by four weeks of daily home practice guided by a video. After four weeks, adolescents repeated the baseline questionnaires. The wait list control group then received the yoga intervention and four weeks later completed an additional set of questionnaires. RESULTS: Adolescents in the yoga group reported lower levels of functional disability, less use of emotion-focused avoidance and lower anxiety following the intervention than adolescents in the control group. When the pre- and postintervention data for the two groups were combined, adolescents had significantly lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms and emotion-focused avoidance following the yoga intervention. Adolescents found the yoga to be helpful and indicated they would continue to use it to manage their IBS. CONCLUSIONS: Yoga holds promise as an intervention for adolescents with IBS.</p>
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