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13-02-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2016

Mindfulness 3/2016

Mindfulness and Relaxation: a Comparison of Brief, Laboratory-Based Interventions

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2016
Steven L. Lancaster, Keith P. Klein, Whitney Knightly


Mindfulness meditation has garnered increased interest as a treatment for a variety of psychological conditions, including anxiety. Due to its increasing popularity and the lack of research comparing it with previously validated treatments, this project compares brief, laboratory-based mindfulness meditation and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) interventions. These interventions were examined in relation to facets of state mindfulness, mood, and state anxiety, with particular emphasis on how gender differences moderate these outcomes. Undergraduate students were recruited and randomly assigned to either a mindfulness intervention or a relaxation intervention. Across conditions, participants reported significant reductions in both negative affect and positive affect, while those in the PMR group reported significant changes in cognitive anxiety and women in the PMR group reported significant changes in somatic anxiety. These results differ from those of previous studies, which could indicate that mindfulness and relaxation exercises may influence men and women differently when cognitive or somatic symptoms of anxiety are more predominant in the present moment. Additional applications of mindfulness and further directions for research are discussed.

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