The effects of four days of intensive mindfulness meditation training on resilience to stress

The interest in mindfulness meditation interventions has surged due to their beneficial effects in fostering resilience and reducing stress in both clinical and non-clinical populations | Psychology, Health & Medicine

However, the relaxation benefits that may occur while practicing mindfulness meditation and long-term benefits of these interventions remain unclear.

Participants in both the Templestay program and Control groups showed significant increases in their scores on CAMS and RQT after completing the program. During the 3-month follow-up, a significant interaction effect of the intervention method and time was revealed for the individuals’ CAMS and RQT scores.

Our findings support the hypothesis that while relaxation practices may have certain stress reduction effects, the effects are predominantly mediated by the mindfulness meditation practice. Furthermore, the long-term benefits of increased resilience observed in the Templestay program group suggest that the practice may be a possible treatment strategy in clinical populations, such as patients with depression and anxiety.

Full reference: Jeong Hwang, W. et al. (2017) The effects of four days of intensive mindfulness meditation training (Templestay program) on resilience to stress: a randomized controlled trial. Psychology, Health & Medicine. Published online: 29 August 2017

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The need for incorporating emotional intelligence and mindfulness training in modern medical education

Although the study of medicine and the tradition of medical students gaining clinical experience on hospital wards have not significantly changed over the years, the experience of physicians practicing in the current climate has changed dramatically | Postgraduate Medical Journal

Physicians are confronted with increasing regulations aimed at improving quality of care and are often overwhelmed by their position in a tug-of-war between administrators, staff, colleagues and most importantly, patients. With more than half of the US physicians experiencing professional burnout, questions arise regarding their mental health and work-life balance. Blendon et al1 reported an overall decline in the public’s confidence and trust in physicians, which may be explained by cultural changes as well as displeasure with medical leaders’ responses to healthcare needs. As the next generation of physicians emerges in this evolving healthcare environment, adaptation to new practices and regulations will be imperative. Emotional intelligence (EI) and mindfulness provide a possible solution to the struggles physicians will invariably face.

Full reference: Shakir, H.J. et al. (2017) The need for incorporating emotional intelligence and mindfulness training in modern medical education. Postgraduate Medical Journal. Published Online: 27 July 2017

Mindfulness-Based Interventions and Sleep Among Cancer Survivors

The purpose of this critical examination is to present results from a critical analysis of randomised controlled trials and provide a synthesis of this body of work | Current Oncology Reports

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Sleep problems among cancer survivors are gaining research attention. To our knowledge, there have been six randomized control trials published from 2013 to 2015 that test the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on sleep as a primary or secondary outcome.

Our examination of the literature highlights important methodological issues and variability among trials. We conclude our review by offering solutions to facilitate more scientific rigor in future studies.

Full reference: Christodoulou, G. & Black , D.S. (2017) Mindfulness-Based Interventions and Sleep Among Cancer Survivors: a Critical Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Current Oncology Reports. Vol. 19 (Issue 09)
Article 60.

Mindfulness facets and problematic Internet use

The aim of this study was to study the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between mindfulness facets and problematic Internet use in adolescents | Addictive Behaviors

Highlights: 

  • Acting with awareness and non-judging are the dimensions of mindfulness that are most closely associated with all PIU components.
  • Non-judging is the only dimension of mindfulness that predicts a decrease in the preference for online social interactions over face-to-face relationships.
  • Conclusions are supported by the use of a longitudinal design.

Findings indicated that non-judging is the only dimension of mindfulness that predicts a decrease in preference for online social interactions over face-to-face relationships. Moreover, non-judging indirectly predicted reductions in the rest of the problematic Internet use components. The observing and acting with awareness dimensions of mindfulness directly predicted less deficient self-regulation of Internet use and indirectly predicted less negative outcomes through their impact on deficient self-regulation. Thus, these dimensions seem to act when the maladaptive use of the Internet is consolidated.

Full reference: Calvete, E. et al. (2017) Mindfulness facets and problematic Internet use: A six-month longitudinal study. Addictive Behaviors. Vol. 72 (September) pp. 57-63

Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Adolescents with Chronic Illness

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have emerged as a promising strategy for individuals with a chronic illness, given their versatility in targeting both physical and mental health outcomes. However, research to date has focused on adult or community-based populations | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Objectives: To systematically review and critically appraise MBIs in clinical pediatric samples living with chronic physical illness.

Results: Of a total 4710 articles, 8 articles met inclusion criteria. All studies were small , included only outpatient adolescent samples, and focused on feasibility and acceptability of MBI; only 1 study included a comparison group (n = 1). No studies included online components or remote attendance. All studies found that MBI was acceptable to adolescents, whereas feasibility and implementation outcomes were mixed. Many studies were underpowered to detect significant differences post-MBI, but MBI did demonstrate improvements in emotional distress in several studies.

Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings: The literature on MBIs is preliminary in nature, focusing on adapting and developing MBI for adolescents. Although MBIs appear to be a promising approach to coping with symptoms related to chronic illness in adolescents, future research with adequate sample sizes and rigorous research designs is warranted.

Full reference: Ahola Kohut, S. et al (2017) Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Clinical Samples of Adolescents with Chronic Illness: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Vol. 23(no. 8) pp. 581-589.

Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for staff in a palliative care setting

Palliative care staff engage in emotional and stressful work; however, research is yet to offer any insights as to what types of psychosocial intervention can effectively improve staff psychological well-being | BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

Aims: This research aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBI), which was condensed to make it more feasible for staff to attend, to improve the psychological well-being of palliative care staff.

Conclusion: This research suggests a condensed MBI can effectively improve staff psychological well-being; furthermore, findings can inform future development of MBIs for this setting.

Hill RC, Graham-Wisener L, Finucane A, et al 21 Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for staff in a palliative care setting. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol. 07 (Issue 03) pp. A354-A355.

Encouraging Mindfulness in Medical House Staff via Smartphone App

Stress and burnout are increasingly recognized as urgent issues among resident physicians, especially given the concerning implications of burnout on physician well-being and patient care outcomes | Academic Psychiatry

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The authors assessed how a mindfulness and meditation practice among residents, supported via a self-guided, smartphone-based mindfulness app, affects wellness as measured by prevalidated surveys.

Study limitations include self-guided app usage, a homogenous study subject population, insufficient study subjects to perform stratified analysis of the impact of specialty on the findings, lack of control group, and possible influence from the Hawthorne effect. This study suggests the feasibility and efficacy of a short mindfulness intervention delivered by a smartphone app to improve mindfulness and associated resident physician wellness parameters.

Full reference: Wen, L. et al. Encouraging Mindfulness in Medical House Staff via Smartphone App: A Pilot Study (2017) Academic Psychiatry. Published online: 09 August 2017