Engagement with Cognitively-Based Compassion Training is associated with reduced salivary C-reactive protein from before to after training in foster care program adolescents

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Winship Cancer Center, Atlanta, GA 30322, United States.
Psychoneuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.94). 07/2012; 38(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.05.019
Source: PubMed


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.

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.

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.

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.

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Available from: Charles L Raison, Jan 16, 2014
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    • "In some cases the results were more robust, or were seen across most of the dependent variables (e.g., Berger et al. 2009), and in one study, there was a positive correlation between reductions in morning salivary CRP concentrations across the 6-week study period and the number of cognitive-based compassion training practice sessions (Pace et al. 2012 "
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