Date of Award

7-15-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

Committee Chair

Michael Christopher, PhD

Second Advisor

Helene Wahbeh, ND

Third Advisor

Paul Michael, PhD

Abstract

There is a dearth of empirical research on mindfulness interventions specific to veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Of the studies that have been published, most are cross-sectional, have small sample sizes, low statistical power, and used non-randomized designs or no control group. Additionally, dismantling designs employed to discern which specific aspects of mindfulness-based interventions lead to positive outcomes, and subsequently, determine the active ingredients involved in the positive outcomes are lacking. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to: a) assess the differential impact of two common components of mindfulness meditation (body scan [BS] and mindful breathing [MB]) on trait and state mindfulness and treatment outcomes compared to an intervention without mindfulness (slow breathing [SB]), and a non-intervention control group (sitting quietly [SQ]); b) explore if changes in mindfulness facets would predict posttreatment outcomes in depression and PTSD for individuals who participated in a mindfulness intervention; and c) investigate if the mindfulness intervention grouping variable (BS v. MB) would moderate the relationship between pre-posttreatment changes in mindfulness facets and posttreatment outcomes in depression and PTSD among a sample of veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Results revealed that BS and MB interventions generally resulted in greater improvements than SB and SQ. Additionally, among participants in a mindful intervention (BS and MB), changes in Nonreactivity, Non-judging, and Acting with Awareness were significant predictors of posttreatment depression. Furthermore, mindfulness group (BS v. MB) moderated the relationship between change in Nonreactivity and post-treatment depression and the relationship between change in Acting with Awareness and post-treatment depression. Simple slope analyses revealed that change in Nonreactivity was a statistically significant predictor of posttreatment depression in the MB group (β = .64, p = .003), but not in the BS group (β = -.12, p = .58), whereas change in Acting With Awareness was a significant predictor of post-treatment depression in the BS group (β =.41, p = .05), but not in the MB group (β =.20, p = .38). The clinical effects of specific components of mindfulness interventions, as well as the discrete mechanism of action within an intervention, will be discussed.

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