Psychology ETDs

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The objective of this study was to examine effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on the ability to decrease anxiety and depression and increase mindfulness compared to cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM). Thirty-five subjects were recruited from a community healthcare center and took part in MBSR (n = 21) and CBSM (n =14) groups. There were no initial differences between MBSR and CBSM subjects on demographics including age, gender, education, and income. MBSR was an 8-week course using meditation, gentle yoga, and body scanning exercises to increase mindfulness. CBSM was an 8-week course using cognitive and behavioral techniques to change thinking and reduce distress. Anxiety, depression, and mindfulness were assessed before and after each group. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to examine initial group differences between MBSR and CBSM and between Latinos and Non-Latino Whites (NLWs). Effect sizes and paired t-tests were used to examine changes in pre to post measures within groups and ethnicities. Correlational analyses were used to examine changes in anxiety, depression, and mindfulness, as well as changes in mindfulness subscales. Chi-square analyses examined dropout rates between Latino and NLW subjects. Results showed no significant differences in depression and anxiety when comparing MBSR and CBSM groups, but effect sizes showed significant reductions in anxiety and depression and increases in mindfulness. MBSR also showed significant reductions in all three variables, while CBSM showed reductions in anxiety depression, but no changes in mindfulness. NLWs showed reductions in both anxiety and depression, while Latinos decreased only in depression. NLWs showed large effects on all variables, while Latinos showed small increases in mindfulness, medium reductions in anxiety, and large reductions in depression. There were significant correlations between reductions in anxiety and increases in mindfulness and between reductions in depression and increases in mindfulness. There were no significant differences in attrition between groups or ethnicities. Future research should compare cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based interventions in a large sample. Research may also benefit from studying the mechanisms involved in mindfulness instead of focusing on group differences.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Vowles, Kevin

Second Committee Member

Verney, Steve

Third Committee Member

Shelley, Brian




MBSR, CBSM, anxiety, depression, primary care

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