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05-11-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2021 Open Access

Mindfulness 3/2021

Positive Shifts in Emotion Evaluation Following Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in Remitted Depressed Participants

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2021
Auteurs:
Kate Williams, Rebecca Elliott, Thorsten Barnhofer, Roland Zahn, Ian M. Anderson
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-020-01521-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Objectives

A combination of negatively biased information processing and a reduced ability to experience positive emotions can persist into remission from major depression (rMDD). Studies have shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can increase self-reported positive emotions in rMDD participants; similar changes using neuropsychological tasks have not been shown. In this study, we investigated neuropsychological change in emotional processing following MBCT in rMDD participants.

Methods

Seventy-three rMDD participants, 40 of whom received MBCT and 33 of whom continued with treatment as usual (TAU), and 42 never depressed participants took part; neither the TAU nor never depressed participants received MBCT. All were assessed at baseline and immediately following MBCT or after an 8-week gap for those without active intervention. Participants completed emotion evaluation and face emotion recognition tasks with self-report measures (mood, mindfulness) at each session.

Results

Results showed an MBCT-specific shift in ratings from less negative to more positive emotion evaluations, which correlated with mindfulness practice and self-report mindfulness change. Both the MBCT and TAU groups showed a small increase in overall face emotion recognition accuracy compared with no change in never depressed participants.

Conclusions

These findings support a specific role for MBCT in encouraging more positive evaluations of life situations in those with previous depression rather than influencing lower-level processing of emotions. Results should be interpreted cautiously given that this was a non-randomised, preference choice trial.

Trial Registration

NCT02226042

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