Research: LANE and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 144

Abstract

LANE and co-authors, Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, USA, have described the benefits of a brief meditation training.

Background

The aim of this study was to test a brief, non-sectarian program of meditation training for effects on perceived stress and negative emotion, and to determine effects of practice frequency and test the moderating effects of emotional liability on treatment outcome.

Methodology

The study used a single-group, open-label, pre-test post-test design conducted in the setting of a university medical center. 133 healthy adults interested in learning meditation for stress-reduction were enrolled. Participants learned a simple mantra-based meditation technique in 4 1-hour small-group meetings, with instructions to practise for 15-20 minutes twice daily. Instruction was based on a psychophysiological model of meditation practice and its expected effects on stress. Baseline and monthly follow-up measures of Profile of Mood States; Perceived Stress Scale; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; and Brief Symptom Inventory were the outcome measures. Practice frequency was indexed by monthly retrospective ratings. Emotional lability was evaluated as a potential moderator of treatment effects.

Results

All 4 outcome measures improved significantly after instruction, with reductions from baseline that ranged from 14% (Anxiety) to 36% (Symptom Inventory). More frequent practice was associated with better outcome. Higher baseline lability scores were associated with greater improvement.

Conclusion

Even brief instruction in a simple meditation technique can improve negative mood and perceived stress in healthy adults. Frequency of practice does affect outcome. Those most likely to experience negative emotions may benefit the most from the intervention.

References

Lane JD, Seskevich JE, Pieper CF. Brief meditation training can improve perceived stress and negative mood. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine 13 (1): 38-44, Jan-Feb 2007.

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