Evaluation of an on-line mindfulness intervention conducted on a community sample

Mr Paul Bowden (). Evaluation of an on-line mindfulness intervention conducted on a community sample Professional Doctorate, University of Queensland, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mr Paul Bowden
Thesis Title Evaluation of an on-line mindfulness intervention conducted on a community sample
School, Centre or Institute University of Queensland
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Dr Paul Harnett
Total pages 104
Total black and white pages 104
Abstract/Summary Abstract Mindfulness meditation is rapidly growing as an efficacious technique in the field of Psychology and has been adapted into several well know psychological therapy models such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The present study involved an online mindfulness intervention targeting a worldwide community sample. 113 participants were recruited via the internet from a worldwide community sample to take part in this online mindfulness intervention study. Participants were primarily recruited from various online forums, interest groups, and group emails. Participants completed several pre-intervention measures and then they were requested to complete eight weeks of mindfulness practice. The mindfulness practice was delivered online where participants were given access to four guided meditations which were then self administered. These guided meditations were all commonly used components of the major mindfulness based therapies including MBSR, DBT, MBCT, and ACT. Participants were also provided written instruction pertaining to the methods of informal mindfulness practice. Researchers tracked the progress of participants each week over an eight-week period, and those participants who did not drop out of the study completed post intervention measures. There were five primary aims of the present study. Firstly, the study aimed to establish whether participants would initiate and maintain a mindfulness practice over an eight week period using online mindfulness resources, exploring characteristics such as proneness to boredom, psychological distress, mindfulness, reflection, and psychological wellbeing to determine if they predicted attrition. The study also explored some reasons as to why participants didn’t practice mindfulness meditation regularly. The second aim was to explore whether any benefits were gained after completing eight weeks of mindfulness meditation. Thirdly, the present study investigated whether mindfulness acted as a mechanism of change in the benefits gained. Fourthly the present research explored the dose and type (formal versus informal) of practice that participants were engaging in over the eight week period. The final aim of this study was to investigate whether the internet was perceived as a valuable tool to conduct a mindfulness intervention. As predicted, a significant proportion of people had dropped out of the study, and were assumed to be no longer practicing meditation, by the end of the eight week period, with only 21% remaining at the end of this time period. 31% of participants had ceased practice of meditation after the first week, with around 6-10% of participants dropping out each week. The only significant predictor of surviving the eight week study was having a higher level of mindfulness at the commencement of the study. Results of this study supported the notion that those participants who completed the eight week period of mindfulness would gain benefits and the study also gave some support for the notion that mindfulness acted as a mechanism of change in benefits that were gained. The study found that the optimal amount of mindfulness practice is around 10-20 minutes of formal meditation per day and 20 to 30 minutes of informal meditation practice per day. Although participants seemed to practice informal meditation more regularly than formal practice, there was no statistically significant difference between the two types of practice. The study also concluded that using the internet was a valuable means of performing a mindfulness intervention. The internet is a valuable means of providing information pertaining to the concept and practice of mindfulness, and can be disseminated to a large group of people in a cost-effective manner. Around half of the people who accessed this online resource took up the program, and of those people who finished the eight-week program, significant benefits were gained in the reduction of psychological distress and improvement in psychological well-being and mindfulness. Limitations of the study and implications for governments, researchers, and instructors of mindfulness meditation are discussed.
Keyword online; mindfulness; community

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Created: Thu, 30 Jun 2011, 21:28:41 EST by Mr Paul Bowden on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences