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.