Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examination of Individual, Formal Meditation Practice Among Participants of a Mindfulness-based Intervention
by Rooney, Laura J., Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2012, 153; 3511542
Abstract (Summary)

Mindfulness is described as a quality of consciousness characterized by open awareness and attentiveness to present moment experiences; inherent in all individuals, it can be enhanced through training and practice of mindful meditation. Mindfulness is associated with positive effects on physical and mental health and well-being and with reducing risky behaviors such as gambling binge eating and smoking. As a result, mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) proliferated over the past 30-40 years. With the efficacy of MBIs firmly established, attention has turned to "unpacking" the mechanisms through which MBIs lead to outcomes. Studying MBIs as behavior change programs includes investigating the influence of participant characteristics on MBI participation, identifying determinants of change between MBI participation and observed outcomes and mapping specific MBI elements onto determinants of change.

This study examined the specific MBI element of initiating individual, at home meditation the relationship between individual practice and mindfulness, mindfulness skills and meditation self-efficacy during an 8-week MBI. Data collected from fifty-nine participants in an 8-week MBI were used to investigate the ability of baseline participant characteristics to predict initiation of individual, at-home meditation practice and examine the associations between meditation practice patterns and changes in measured mindfulness, mindfulness skills and meditation self-efficacy over the 8 weeks. Individuals enrolling in an MBI did not differ on several characteristics that may have been dependent on prior meditation experience, and participant personality traits may be able to predict individual, at home meditation practice. Magnitude of changes in mindfulness, mindfulness skills and meditation self-efficacy from baseline to post-program differed based on participant meditation practice trends (categorized as regular high, low or inconsistent practice frequency over 8 weeks) with high category participants having the largest changes over the 8 weeks for most determinants. Mindfulness-based interventions provide health-beneficial outcomes to growing numbers of people as individuals in clinical and non-clinical settings (such as workplaces, schools, homes) enroll in programs.

A comprehensive picture of the characteristics of participants enrolling and participating in MBIs increases researchers and MBI leaders' knowledge about who is attracted to and attends MBIs and how to tailor learning techniques and meditation instructions to individuals that will maximize the successful initiation or maintenance of meditation behavior by participants. MBIs can be enhanced through further explication of the determinants through which observed changes in health-beneficial outcomes occur over time by clearly defining determinants of change and mapping MBI elements to the specific determinants that each element is expected to influence. This study examined one MBI element of individual, at home meditation practice and its relationship to determinants of change of mindfulness, mindfulness skills and meditation self-efficacy as an example of how MBIs and determinants can be evaluated in order to continue enhancing participants' MBI experiences, mediation practice behaviors and health-beneficial outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Saunders, Ruth P.
Commitee: Beets, Michael W., Blake, Christine E., Watkins, Ken W.
School: University of South Carolina
Department: Health Prom Edu & Bhv
School Location: United States -- South Carolina
Source: DAI-B 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Alternative Medicine, Public health
Keywords: Change model, Determinants of change, Meditation, Meditation self-efficacy, Mindfulness, Mindfulness-based intervention
Publication Number: 3511542
ISBN: 978-1-267-39407-1
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