Background: This study examined the effects of an 8-week stress reduction program based on training in mindfulness meditation. Previous research efforts suggesting this program may be beneficial in terms of reducing stress-related symptomatology and helping patients cope with chronic pain have been limited by a lack of adequate comparison control group.
Methods: Twenty-eight individuals who volunteered to participate in the present study were randomized into either an experimental group or a nonintervention control group.
Results: Following participation, experimental subjects, when compared with controls, evidenced significantly greater changes in terms of: (1) reductions in overall psychological symptomatology; (2) increase in overall domain-specific sense of control and utilization of an accepting or yielding mode of control in their lives, and (3) higher scores on a measure of spiritual experiences.
Conclusions: The techniques of mindfulness meditation, with their emphasis on developing detached observation and awareness of the contents of consciousness, may represent a powerful cognitive behavioral coping strategy for transforming the ways in which we respond to life events. They may also have potential for relapse prevention in affective disorders.