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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.

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.