Research

Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have been shown to improve health outcomes in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical populations [a]. MBCT reduces relapse rates amongst patients who have had multiple episodes of depression [b]. Other research includes a recent meta-analysis of 209 studies with a total of 12,145 participants. It concluded that MBIs showed “large and clinically significant effects in treating anxiety and depression, and the gains were maintained at follow-up” [c]. MBIs have also consistently been found to reduce self-reported measures of perceived stress, anger, rumination, and physiological symptoms, while improving positive outlook, empathy, sense of cohesion, self-compassion and overall quality of life [d].

Mindfulness training is associated with reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli [e], as well as improvements in attention and cognitive capacities [f]. These may be some of the mechanisms by which health and wellbeing gains are made – by relating to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and events in life more skilfully, practitioners may be less drawn into unhelpful habitual reactions and more able to make good choices about how to relate to their circumstances. 

Neuroscientific studies into the effects of mindfulness indicate that it is associated with brain changes that seem to reflect improvements in attention and emotion regulation skills [g]. The benefits of mindfulness appear to extend to relationships so that practitioners are more likely to respond compassionately to someone in need [h], and enjoy more satisfying personal relationships [i]. There is also some evidence that they take more environmentally responsible decisions [j]. As with any new field of enquiry, there is much more research to be done to understand its effects.

 

[a] See for example Khoury B, Lecomte T, Fortin G, Masse M, Therien P, Bouchard V, Hofmann S
et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. 2013;33:763–771. Also de Vibe M, Bjørndall A, Tipton E, Hammerstrøm K, Kowalski K. Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life and social functioning in adults. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2012:3. Also Keng S L, Smoski MJ, Robins CJ. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011;31(6):1041–1056.

[b] Williams JMG, Kuyken W. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: a promising new approach to preventing depressive relapse. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2012; DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.104745.

[c] Khoury B, Lecomte T, Fortin G, Masse M, Therien P, Bouchard V, et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. 2013;33:763–771.

[d] Keng SL, Smoski MJ, Robins CJ. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011;31(6):1041–1056. Trait mindfulness (how “mindful” a person generally is in their approach to life) is positively associated with wellbeing indicators such as life satisfaction, conscientiousness, vitality, self-esteem, empathy, sense of autonomy, competence, and optimism, while it is negatively correlated with depression, neuroticism, absent- mindedness, rumination, cognitive reactivity, social anxiety, emotion regulation difficulties, and general psychological symptoms.

[e] Hölzel B, Lazar SW, Gard T, Schuman-Olivier Z, Vago DR, Ott U. How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2011;6:6537-559. Farb N, Anderson A, Segal Z. The Mindful Brain and Emotion Regulation in Mood Disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;57(2):70–77.

[f] Brown KW, Ryan RM, Creswell JD. Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry. 2007;18(4):211–237.

[g] Chiesa A, Calati R, Serretti A. Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011;31:449–464. Ostafin BD, Kassman KT. Stepping out of history: Mindfulness improves insight problem-solving. Consciousness and Cognition. 2012;21(2):1031-6.

[h] Condon P, Desbordes G, Miller WB, DeSteno D. Meditation increases compassionate responses to suffering. Psychological Science. 2013;10:2125-2127.

[i] Brown KW, Ryan RM, Creswell JD. Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry. 2007;18(4):211-237.

 


Further academic papers of interest:

Health

Biegel GM, Brown KW, Shapiro SL, Schubert CM. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the treatment of adolescent psychiatric outpatients: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2009;77:855–866.

Bohlmeijer, Ernst, Rilana Prenger, Erik Taal, and Pim Cuijpers. "The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy on mental health of adults with a chronic medical disease: a meta-analysis." Journal of psychosomatic research68, no. 6 (2010): 539-544.

Brown, Kirk Warren, and Richard M. Ryan. "The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being." Journal of personality and social psychology 84, no. 4 (2003): 822.

Burcusa SL, Iacano WG. Risk of recurrence in depression. Clinical Psychology Review. 2007;27:959-985.

Cavanagh K, Strauss C, Forder L, Jones F. Can mindfulness and acceptance be learnt by self-help?: A systematic review and meta-analysis of mindfulness and acceptance-based self-help interventions. Clinical Psychology Review. 2014;34:118–129.

Chiesa A, Serretti A. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009;15(5):593-600.

Crane, RS, Kuyken W. The implementation of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: Learning from the
UK Health Service experience. Mindfulness. 2012;4 246–254.

Grossman, Paul, Ludger Niemann, Stefan Schmidt, and Harald Walach. "Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis."Journal of psychosomatic research 57, no. 1 (2004): 35-43.

Halliwell E. Mindfulness Report. Mental Health Foundation: 2010.

Hofmann, Stefan G., Alice T. Sawyer, Ashley A. Witt, and Diana Oh. "The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review." Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 78, no. 2 (2010): 169.

Ledesma, Dianne, and Hiroaki Kumano. "Mindfulness‐based stress reduction and cancer: a meta‐analysis." Psycho‐Oncology 18, no. 6 (2009): 571-579.

McCrone P, Dhanasiri S, Patel A, Knapp M, Lawton-Smith S. Paying the price: The cost of mental health care in England to 2026. London: King’s Fund; 2008.

McManus F, Surawy C, Muse K, Vazquez-Montes M, & Williams JMG. A randomized clinical trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy versus unrestricted services for health anxiety (hypochondriasis). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2012; 80:817–28.

Piet J, Hougaard E. The effect of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011;31:1032–40.

Shapiro, Shauna L., Kirk Warren Brown, and Gina M. Biegel. "Teaching self-care to caregivers: effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the mental health of therapists in training." Training and Education in Professional Psychology 1, no. 2 (2007): 105.

Spek AA, van Ham N C, Nyklícek I. Mindfulness-based therapy in adults with an autism spectrum disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2013; 34:246–53.

Strauss C, Cavanagh K, Oliver A, Pettman D. Mindfulness-based interventions for people diagnosed with a current episode of an anxiety or depressive disorder: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. 2014; PLoS One 9:e96110.

Education

Flook L, Smalley SL, Kitil MJ, Galla BM, Kaiser-Greenland S, Locke J, et al. Effects of mindful awareness practices on executive functions in elementary school children. Journal of Applied School Psychology. 2010;26(1):70-95.

Beauchemin J, Hutchins TL, Patterson F. Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote
social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities.
Complementary Health Practice Review. 2008;13(1):34–45.

Biegel GM, Brown KW, Shapiro SL, Schubert CM. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the
treatment of adolescent psychiatric outpatients: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and
Clinical Psychology. 2009;77:855–866.

Broderick PC, Metz S. Learning to BREATHE: A pilot trial of a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents.
Advances in School Mental Health Promotion. 2009;2:35-46.

Diamond A, Lee K. Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science. 2011;333(6045):959-964.

Durlak JA, Weissberg RP, Dymnicki AB, Taylor RD, Schellinger KB. The impact of enhancing students’
social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child
Development. 2011;82(1):405–432.

Felver JC, Celis-de Hoyos CE, Tezanos K, Singh NN. A systematic review of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for youth in school settings. Mindfulness. 2015:6;1-12. DOI:10.1007/s12671-015-0389-4.
Goleman D. Focus: the hidden driver of excellence. New York: HarperCollins USA; 2013.

Huppert FA, Johnson DM. A controlled trial of mindfulness training in schools: The importance of practice for an impact on wellbeing. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 2010; 5(4):264-274.

Kuyken W, Weare K, Ukoumunne, O Lewis, R, Motton, N Burnett, R, Cullen C, Hennelly S and Huppert F. Effectiveness of the .b mindfulness in schools program: A non-randomized controlled feasibility study. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2013;203(2):126-131.DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126649.

Layard R, Hagall A. Healthy young minds: Transforming the mental health of children. London: Report
of the World Innovation Summit in Health (WISH) Mental Health and Wellbeing in Children Forum; 2015.

Moffitt TE, Arseneault L, Belsky D, Dickson N, Hancox R J, Harrington H, et al. A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2011;108(7);2693-2698.

Posner MI, Rothbart MK, Tang Y. Developing self-regulation in early childhood. Trends in Neuroscience
and Education. 2013;2(3):107-110.

Sanger KL, Dorjee D. Mindfulness training for adolescents: A neurodevelopmental perspective on investigating modifications in attention and emotion regulation using event-related brain potentials. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. 2015;1-16.

Shonkoff JP, Garner AS, Siegel BS, Dobbins MI, Earls MF, McGuinn, L, et al. The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics. 2012;129(1):e232-e246.

Singh NN, Singh AN, Lancioni GE, Singh J, Winton AS, Adkins AD. Mindfulness training for parents and their children with ADHD increases the children’s compliance. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 2010;19(2):157-166.

van de Weijer-Bergsma E, Formsma AR, de Bruin EI, Bögels SM. The effectiveness of mindfulness training on behavioral problems and attentional functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Journal of child and family studies. 2012;21(5):775-787.

Weare K. Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context. Journal of Children’s Services. 2013;8(2):141–153.

Wisner BL, Jones B, Gwin D. School-based meditation practices for adolescents: A resource for strengthening self-regulation, emotional coping, and self- esteem. Children and Schools. 2010;32:3.

Zenner C, Herrnleben-Kurz S, Walach H. Mindfulness-Based Interventions in schools—a systematic
review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in psychology. 2014;5:603.

Zoogman S, Goldberg SB, Hoyt WT, Miller L. Mindfulness interventions with youth: A meta-analysis.
Mindfulness. 2014;1-13.

Workplace

Casey P, Burke K, Leben S. Minding the court: Enhancing the decision-making process. International Journal for Court Administration. 2013;5:45-54.

Chiesa A, Serretti A. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. 2009;15:593–600.

Hafenbrack AC, Kinias Z, Barsade SG. Debiasing the mind through meditation: Mindfulness and the sunk-cost bias. Psychological Science. 2013;25(2):369-376.

Jain S, Shapiro SL, Swanick S, Roesch SC, Mills PJ, Bell I, Schwartz GE. A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: Effects on distress, positive states of mind, rumination, and distraction. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2007;33:11–21.

Jha AP, Stanley EA, Kiyonaga A, Wong L, Gelfand L. Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory and affective experience. Emotion. 2010;10(1):54–64.

Manotas M, Segura C, Eraso M, Oggins J, McGovern K. Association of brief mindfulness training with reductions in perceived stress and distress in Colombian health care professionals. International Journal of Stress Management. 2014;21:207–225.

Moore A, Malinowski P. Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility. Consciousness and Cognition. 2009;18(1):176-86.

Mrazek MD, Franklin MS, Phillips DT, Baird B, Schoole JW. Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering. Psychological Science. 2013;24(5):776-781.

NICE guidelines [PH22]. Promoting Wellbeing at Work. Manchester: NICE; 2009.

Ostafin BD, Kassman KT. Stepping out of history: Mindfulness improves insight problem-solving. Consciousness and Cognition. 2012;21:1031-1036.

Pidgeon AM, Ford L, Klaassen F. Evaluating the effectiveness of enhancing resilience in human service professionals using a retreat-based mindfulness with Metta Training Program: A randomised control trial. Psychology, Health and Medicine. 2014;19:355–64.

Van den Hurk PAM, Giommi F, Gielen SG, Speckens AEM, Henk P, Barendregt HP. Greater efficiency in attentional processing related to mindfulness meditation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2010;63(6):1168-1180.

Weick KE, Sutcliffe KM. Mindfulness and the quality of attention. Organization Science. 2006;17(4):514-525.

Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Diamond BJ, David Z, Goolkasian P. Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition.) 2010; 19(2):597-605.

Criminal Justice

Barnert E, Himelstein S, Garcia-Romeu A, Chamberlain LJ. Innovations in Practice: Exploring an intensive meditation intervention for incarcerated youth. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 2014;19(1):69-73.

Dafoe T, Stermac L. Mindfulness meditation as an adjunct approach to treatment within the correctional system. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. 2013;52(3):198-216.

Day A. Offender emotion and self-regulation: implications for offender rehabilitation programming. Psychology, Crime and Law. 2009;15:119–130.

Himelstein S, Shapiro S, Hastings A, Heery M. Mindfulness training for self-regulation and stress with incarcerated youth: A pilot study. Probation Journal. 2012;59:151-165.

Himelstein S. Mindfulness-based substance abuse treatment for incarcerated youth: A mixed method pilot study. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. 2011;30.1-2:1-10.

Howells K, Tennant A, Day A, Elmer R. Mindfulness in forensic mental health: Does it have a role? Mindfulness. 2010;1(1):4-9.

Kuyken W, Hayes, R, Barrett B, Byng R, Dalgleish T, Kessler D et al. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence. The Lancet. 2015;386(9988):63–73.

Lee K, Bowen S, Bai A. Psychosocial outcomes of mindfulness-based relapse prevention in incarcerated substance abusers in Taiwan: A preliminary study. Journal of Substance Use. 2011;6.6:476-483.

Leonard NR, Jha AP, Casarjian B, Goolsarran M, Garcia C, et al. Mindfulness training improves attentional task performance in incarcerated youth: A group randomized controlled intervention trial. Frontiers in Psychology. 2013;4:792.

Loucks N. No One Knows: Offenders with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities. Review of prevalence and associated needs. London: Prison Reform Trust; 2007.

Samuelson M, Carmody J, Kabat-Zinn J, Bratt M. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Massachusetts Correctional Facilities. The Prison Journal. 2007;87.2:254-268.

Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Winton ASW, Singh AN, Adkins AD, Singh J. Can adult offenders with intellectual disabilities use mindfulness-based procedures to control their deviant sexual arousal? Psychology, Crime & Law. 2010;1:1-15.

Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Winton ASW, Singh AN, Adkins AD, Singh J. Clinical and benefit−cost outcomes of teaching a mindfulness-based procedure to adult offenders with intellectual disabilities. Behavior Modification. 2008;32.5:622-637.

Talbot J. Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties. London: Prison Reform Trust; 2008.

Walters G. Changing lives of crime and drugs: Intervening with substance-abusing offenders. New York: Wiley; 1998.

Williams JMG, Crane C, Barnhofer T, Brennan K, Duggan DS, Fennell MJV, Hackmann A, Krusche A, Muse K, Von Rohr IR, Shah D, Crane RS, Eames C, Jones
M, Radford S, Silverton S, Sun Y, Weatherley-Jones E, Whitaker CJ, Russell D, Russell IT. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression: A randomized dismantling trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2014;82(2):275- 286. DOI:10.1037/a0035036.

Witkiewitz K, Warner K, Sully B, Barricks A, Stauffer C, Thompson B et al. Randomized trial comparing mindfulness-based relapse prevention with relapse prevention for women offenders at a residential addiction treatment center. Substance Use and Misuse. 2014;49: 53