Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mindfulness-Based Attention as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Depressive Affect and Negative Cognitions

Here’s another study in the growing body of research suggesting that mindfulness changes how we experience depression.

Researchers at Pacific University collected self-report measures of mindfulness, depression, and negative thinking from a sample of 278 undergraduates. Analyses suggest that there is a weaker relationship between negative thinking and depressive symptom for people higher in mindfulness than for people lower in mindfulness.

What might this mean?

The authors conclude that being more mindful may serve a protective function against becoming depressed when someone experiences negative thoughts. Conversely, less mindful people may be more likely to become depressed when they have negative thoughts.

The results are pretty limited. For one, this was a convenience sample of undergraduate students, not a sample of people with clinical depression. Also, because the results are correlational, we can’t draw any firm conclusions that one thing causes another. We can't tell from these results whether increasing mindfulness actually serves as a prophylactic against becoming depressed.

However, if you're interested in studies that tell us more about how mindfulness may impact how we experience depression, check out some of the past posts from Scientific Mindfulness on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Additionally, a longitudinal study showed that less mindful police officers showed greater increases in depression over time compared to their more mindful counterparts.

For the full citation:

Gilbert, B.D., & Christopher, M.S. (2010). Mindfulness-Based Attention as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Depressive Affect and Negative Cognitions. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34, 514-521.

You might also be interested in some of these other books about mindfulness and depression: 

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic UnhappinessThe Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Depression: Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to Move Through Depression & Create a Life Worth Living (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse

Id like to thank Molly Ellis for her help with this post!

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