Engagement with Cognitively-Based Compassion Training is associated with reduced salivary C-reactive protein from before to after training in foster care program adolescents
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Children exposed to early life adversity (ELA) have been shown to have elevated circulating concentrations of inflammatory markers that persist into adulthood. Increased inflammation in individuals with ELA is believed to drive the elevated risk for medical and psychiatric illness in the same individuals. This study sought to determine whether Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) reduced C-reactive protein (CRP) in adolescents in foster care with high rates of ELA, and to evaluate the relationship between CBCT engagement and changes in CRP given prior evidence from our group for an effect of practice on inflammatory markers. It was hypothesized that increasing engagement would be associated with reduced CRP from baseline to the 6-week assessment. METHODS: Seventy-one adolescents in the Georgia foster care system (31 females), aged 13-17, were randomized to either 6 weeks of CBCT or a wait-list condition. State records were used to obtain information about each participant's history of trauma and neglect, as well as reason for placement in foster care. Saliva was collected before and again after 6 weeks of CBCT or the wait-list condition. Participants in the CBCT group completed practice diaries as a means of assessing engagement with the CBCT. RESULTS: No difference between groups was observed in salivary CRP concentrations. Within the CBCT group, practice sessions during the study correlated with reduced CRP from baseline to the 6-week assessment. CONCLUSIONS: Engagement with CBCT may positively impact inflammatory measures relevant to health in adolescents at high risk for poor adult functioning as a result of significant ELA, including individuals placed in foster care. Longer term follow-up will be required to evaluate if these changes are maintained and translate into improved health outcomes.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Charles L Raison, Jan 16, 2014
01/2014; NSPCC ttp://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/evaluation--of-services/preventing-treating-mental-health-looked-after-children-report.
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ABSTRACT: Although kindness-based contemplative practices are increasingly employed by clinicians and cognitive researchers to enhance prosocial emotions, social cognitive skills, and well-being, and as a tool to understand the basic workings of the social mind, we lack a coherent theoretical model with which to test the mechanisms by which kindness-based meditation may alter the brain and body. Here, we link contemplative accounts of compassion and loving-kindness practices with research from social cognitive neuroscience and social psychology to generate predictions about how diverse practices may alter brain structure and function and related aspects of social cognition. Contingent on the nuances of the practice, kindness-based meditation may enhance the neural systems related to faster and more basic perceptual or motor simulation processes, simulation of another's affective body state, slower and higher-level perspective-taking, modulatory processes such as emotion regulation and self/other discrimination, and combinations thereof.This theoretical model will be discussed alongside best practices for testing such a model and potential implications and applications of future work.Frontiers in Psychology 03/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00109 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, interest into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) is also growing. This paper follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and provides an evaluative systematic review of LKM and CM intervention studies. Five electronic academic databases were systematically searched to identify all intervention studies assessing changes in the symptom severity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revision fourth edition) Axis I disorders in clinical samples and/or known concomitants thereof in subclinical/healthy samples. The comprehensive database search yielded 342 papers and 20 studies (comprising a total of 1,312 participants) were eligible for inclusion. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was then used to assess study quality. Participants demonstrated significant improvements across five psychopathology-relevant outcome domains: (i) positive and negative affect, (ii) psychological distress, (iii) positive thinking, (iv) interpersonal relations, and (v) empathic accuracy. It is concluded that LKM and CM interventions may have utility for treating a variety of psychopathologies. However, to overcome obstacles to clinical integration, a lessons-learned approach is recommended whereby issues encountered during the (ongoing) operationalization of mindfulness interventions are duly considered. In particular, there is a need to establish accurate working definitions for LKM and CM.Mindfulness 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s12671-014-0368-1