Mindful attention increases and mediates psychological outcomes following mantram repetition practice in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

Med Care. 2014 Dec;52(12 Suppl 5):S13-8. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000200.


Background: Several evidence-based treatments are available to veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, not all veterans benefit from these treatments or prefer to engage in them.

Objectives: The current study explored whether (1) a mantram repetition program (MRP) increased mindful attention among veterans with PTSD, (2) mindful attention mediated reduced PTSD symptom severity and enhanced psychological well-being, and (3) improvement in mindful attention was due to the frequency of mantram repetition practice.

Research design: Data from a randomized controlled trial comparing MRP plus treatment as usual (MRP+TAU) or TAU were analyzed using hierarchical linear models.

Subjects: A total of 146 veterans with PTSD from military-related trauma were recruited from a Veterans Affairs outpatient PTSD clinic (71 MRP+TAU; 75 TAU).

Measures: The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), PTSD Checklist (PCL), the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 depression subscale, Health Survey SF-12v2, and Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) were used. Frequency of mantram repetition practice was measured using wrist-worn counters and daily logs.

Results: Intent-to-treat analyses indicated greater increases in mindful attention, as measured by the MAAS, for MRP+TAU as compared with TAU participants (P<0.01). Mindful attention gains mediated previously reported treatment effects on reduced PTSD symptoms (using both CAPS and PCL), reduced depression, and improved psychological well-being. Frequency of mantram repetition practice in turn mediated increased mindful attention.

Conclusions: The MRP intervention and specifically, mantram practice, improved mindful attention in veterans with PTSD, yielding improved overall psychological well-being. MRP may be a beneficial adjunct to usual care in veterans with PTSD.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00120627.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Combat Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Spiritual Therapies*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterans / psychology*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00120627