Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

Mindfulness Studies

A randomized controlled pilot trial of classroom-basedmindfulness meditation compared to an active control condition in sixth-grade children.

Britton WB1, Lepp NE2, Niles HF3, Rocha T4, Fisher NE5, Gold JS6.


The current study is a pilot trial to examine the effects of a nonelective, classroom-based, teacher-implemented, mindfulness meditation intervention on standard clinical measures of mental health and affect in middle school children. A total of 101 healthy sixth-grade students (55 boys, 46 girls) were randomized to either an Asian history course with daily mindfulness meditation practice (intervention group) or an African history course with a matched experiential activity (active control group). Self-reported measures included the Youth Self Report (YSR), a modified Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Measure -Revised. Both groups decreased significantly on clinical syndrome subscales and affect but did not differ in the extent of their improvements. Meditators were significantly less likely to develop suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm than controls. These results suggest that mindfulness training may yield both unique and non-specific benefits that are shared by other novel activities.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction for older adults with worry symptoms and co-occurring cognitive dysfunction.

Lenze EJ1, Hickman S, Hershey T, Wendleton L, Ly K, Dixon D, Doré P, Wetherell JL.



Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has the potential to reduce worry and improve cognitive functioning.


In this treatment development project, we examined MBSR in older adults with worry symptoms and co-occurring cognitive dysfunction. We examined (i) acceptability of MBSR, (ii) whether MBSR needs to be lengthened providing more repetition, (iii) MBSR's benefits for worry reduction and cognitive improvements, and (iv) continued use of MBSR techniques during follow-up.


Two sites (St. Louis and San Diego) enrolled individuals aged 65 years or older with significant anxiety-related distress plus subjective cognitive dysfunction, into traditional 8-session MBSR groups and 12-session groups that had the same content but more repetition of topics and techniques. We examined measures of mindfulness, worry, and a neuropsychological battery focused on memory and executive function before and after the MBSR program, and we followed up participants for 6 months after the completion of MBSR regarding their continued use of its techniques.


Participants (N = 34) showed improvements in worry severity, increases in mindfulness, and improvements in memory as measured by paragraph learning and recall after a delay, all with a large effect size. Most participants continued to use MBSR techniques for 6 months post-instruction and found them helpful in stressful situations. There was no evidence that the extended 12-week MBSR produced superior cognitive or clinical outcomes, greater satisfaction, or greater continuation of MBSR techniques than 8-week MBSR.


These preliminary findings are promising for the further testing and use of MBSR in older adults suffering from clinical worry symptoms and co-occurring cognitive dysfunction. These are common problems in a broad range of older adults, many of whom have anxiety and mood disorders; therefore, stress reduction intervention for them may have great public health value. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Mindfulness for teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout and teaching efficacy.

Flook L1, Goldberg SB, Pinger L, Bonus K, Davidson RJ.

Author information


Despite the crucial role of teachers in fostering children's academic learning and social-emotional well-being, addressing teacher stress in the classroom remains a significant challenge in education. The present study reports results from a randomized controlled pilot trial of a modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course (mMBSR) adapted specifically for teachers. Results suggest the course may be a promising intervention, with participants showing significant reductions in psychological symptoms and burnout, improvements in observer-rated classroom organization and performance on a computer task of affective attentional bias, and increases in self-compassion. In contrast, control group participants showed declines in cortisol functioning over time and marginally significant increases in burnout. Furthermore, changes in mindfulness were correlated in the expected direction with changes across several outcomes (psychological symptoms, burnout, sustained attention) in the intervention group. Implications of these findings for the training and support of teachers are discussed.

Mindfulness (Vipassana) meditation: effects on P3b event-related potential and heart rate variability.

Delgado-Pastor LC1, Perakakis P, Subramanya P, Telles S, Vila J.


The concept of mindfulness is based on Vipassana, a Buddhist meditation technique. The present study examines the physiological indices of attention and autonomic regulation in experienced Vipassana meditators to test the claim that mindfulness is an effective therapeutic tool due to its effects on increasing awareness of present experience and emotional self-regulation. Ten male experienced Vipassana meditators underwent two assessment sessions, one where they practiced Vipassana meditation and another where they rested with no meditation (random thinking). Each meditation/no-meditation session lasted 30 min and was preceded and followed by an auditory oddball task with two tones (standard and target). Event-related potentials to the tones were recorded at the Fz, Cz, and Pz locations. Heart rate variability, derived from an EKG, was recorded continuously during the meditation/no-meditation sessions and during a 5-minute baseline before the task. The Vipassana experts showed greater P3b amplitudes to the target tone after meditation than they did both before meditation and after the no-meditation session. They also showed a larger LF/HF ratio increase during specific Vipassana meditation. These results suggest that expert Vipassana meditators showed increased attentional engagement after meditation and increased autonomic regulation during meditation supporting, at least partially, the two claims concerning the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness. 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress.

Marchand WR.


Mindfulness has been described as a practice of learning to focus attention on moment-bymoment experience with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Mindfulness practices have become increasingly popular as complementary therapeutic strategies for a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions. This paper provides an overview of three mindfulness interventions that have demonstrated effectiveness for psychiatric symptoms and/or pain. The goal of this review is to provide a synopsis that practicing clinicians can use as a clinical reference concerning Zen meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). All three approaches originated from Buddhist spiritual practices, but only Zen is an actual Buddhist tradition. MBSR and MBCT are secular, clinically based methods that employ manuals and standardized techniques. Studies indicate that MBSR and MBCT have broad-spectrum antidepressant and antianxiety effects and decrease general psychological distress. MBCT is strongly recommended as an adjunctive treatment for unipolar depression. The evidence suggests that both MBSR and MBCT have efficacy as adjunctive interventions for anxiety symptoms. MBSR is beneficial for general psychological health and stress management in those with medical and psychiatric illness as well as in healthy individuals. Finally, MBSR and Zen meditation have a role in pain management.

Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity-related eating behaviours: a literature review.

O'Reilly GA1, Cook L, Spruijt-Metz D, Black DS.


Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) targeting eating behaviours have gained popularity in recent years. A literature review was conducted to determine the effectiveness of MBIs for treating obesity-related eating behaviours, such as binge eating, emotional eating and external eating. A search protocol was conducted using the online databases Google Scholar, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid Healthstar. Papers were required to meet the following criteria to be included in this review: (i) describe a MBI or the use of mindfulness exercises as part of an intervention; (ii) include at least one obesity-related eating behaviour as an outcome; (iii) include quantitative outcomes; and (iv) be published in English in a peer-reviewed journal. A total of N = 21 papers were included in this review. Interventions used a variety of approaches to implement mindfulness training, including combined mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapies, mindfulness-based stress reduction, acceptance-based therapies, mindful eating programmes, and combinations of mindfulness exercises. Targeted eating behaviour outcomes included binge eating, emotional eating, external eating and dietary intake. Eighteen (86%) of the reviewed studies reported improvements in the targeted eating behaviours. Overall, the results of this first review on the topic support the efficacy of MBIs for changing obesity-related eating behaviours, specifically binge eating, emotional eating and external eating.

The role of body awareness and mindfulness in the relationship between exercise and eating behavior.

Martin R1, Prichard I, Hutchinson AD, Wilson C.


This study examined the potential mediating roles of mindfulness and body awareness in the relationship between exercise and eating behavior. Female exercisers (N = 159) recruited from fitness centers, yoga centers, and the community completed a questionnaire incorporating measures of exercise behavior, body awareness, trait mindfulness, mindful eating, dietary intake, and disordered eating symptoms. Participation in yoga was associated with significantly lower disordered eating (mediated by body awareness), whereas the amount of time spent participating in cardio-based exercise was associated with greater eating disturbance. The relationships between amount of exercise and actual food intake were not mediated by trait mindfulness or body awareness. The differential findings for dietary intake and disordered eating indicate that the body awareness cultivated in different forms of exercise may be more beneficial for clinical populations or those at risk for eating disorders than for modifying actual dietary intake in the general population.

A pilot study of a single-session training to promote mindful eating.

Jacobs J, Cardaciotto L, Block-Lerner J, McMahon C.



Although researchers have not yet examined the applicability of mindfulness for weight-gain prevention, mindfulness training has the potential to increase an individual's awareness of factors that enable an individual to avoid weight gain caused by overconsumption.


The study intended to examine the effects of 1 h of mindfulness training on state mindfulness and food consumption.


The research team performed a pilot study.


The study occurred at an urban, northeastern, Catholic university.


Participants were 26 undergraduate, English-speaking students who were at least 18 y old (77% female, 73% Caucasian). Students with food allergies, an inability to fast, or a current or past diagnosis of an eating disorder were ineligible.


Participants fasted for 4 h. Between the third and fourth hours, they attended a 1-h session of mindfulness training that integrated three experiential mindfulness exercises with group discussion. Following training, they applied the skills they learned during a silent lunch.


The Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS), the Awareness subscale of the Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale (PHLMS-AW), and a modified version of the Acting with Awareness subscale of the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-AW) were used preand posttraining to assess changes in state mindfulness, present-moment awareness, and mealtime awareness, respectively. A postmeal, subjective hunger/fullness Likert scale was used to assess food consumption (healthy vs unhealthy consumption).


The study found a statistically significant increase in state mindfulness (P=.002). Eighty-six percent of participants engaged in healthy food consumption. No statistically significant changes occurred in either present-moment awareness (P=.617) or mealtime awareness (P=.483).


Preliminary results suggest promising benefits for use of mindfulness training on weight-gain prevention in healthy individuals. More research is needed to understand the impact that mindfulness may have on long-term, weight-gain prevention.

Nurturing Mindfulness in Children and Youth: Current State of Research

Authors: Greenberg, Mark T.; Harris, Alexis R.

Source: Child Development Perspectives, Volume 6, Number 2, 1 June 2012, pp. 161-166(6)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell 

Abstract— This article reviews the current state of research on contemplative practices with children and youth. It reviews contemplative practices used both in treatment settings and in prevention or health promotion contexts, including school‐based programs. Although there is great interest and potential promise for contemplative interventions, enthusiasm for promoting such practices outweighs the current evidence supporting them. Interventions that nurture mindfulness in children and youth may be a feasible and effective method of building resilience in universal populations and in the treatment of disorders in clinical populations. This review suggests that meditation and yoga may be associated with beneficial outcomes for children and youth, but the generally limited quality of research tempers the allowable conclusions. Well‐designed experimental studies that are grounded in developmental theory and measure multiple indicators of change must fully test the efficacy of such interventions.