Improving Mindfulness Outcomes and Measurements to Support Self-Regulation


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Virginia Tech


The field of mindfulness research is rapidly growing as mindfulness is being utilized as a tool to improve mental and cognitive health. Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness. As the research body increases, weaknesses in mindfulness research have surfaced. There is a need for improved measurement tools, an increased understanding of, meditation techniques used, the dose of meditation, and the population samples being studied. Meditation and movement are both tools that can improve an individual's mindfulness. The proposed dissertation will investigate mindfulness through three studies. Study 1 was completed in a population of individual members of the International Quit and Recovery Registry and met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition criteria for substance use disorder. It was found that individuals with higher mindfulness and engagement with Integrative Health Practices demonstrate success in recovery, measured by the World-Health Organization Quality of Life Scale, craving, and Days in Recovery and are more likely to have reached remission. Engagement with meditation showed more and higher correlations with success in recovery than other Integrative Health Practices measured. Study 2 investigated how mindfulness is taught. Participants were divided into two groups, comparing traditional cueing to compassion cueing. Participants received neuroscience education paired with weekly meditation techniques. There were no group differences; however, all participants expressed improvements in mindfulness, self-compassion, decreased depression symptoms, and gains in neuroscience knowledge. The impact of mindfulness curriculum development can be seen through differences in daily outcomes assessing participants' thoughts, emotions, and body on a 10-point Likert scale from settled to active. Study 3 validated a new tool to measure the multidimensional impacts of movement based on a traditional yogic framework and validated with neuroscience tools. The Multidimensional Impacts of Movement Scale (MIMS) is a valid and reliable tool showing stability over time (r = 0.737, p<0.001) and strong Cronbach's Alpha for each scale ranging from α = 0.775 to α = 0.840. These three studies combine as a body of work supporting continued research in the field of mindfulness by adding new knowledge about teaching mindfulness, measuring mindfulness, and how mindfulness can be applied to improve quality of recovery for individuals with substance use disorder.



Mindfulness, Meditation, Movement, Recovery, Integrative Health