Community-Based Mindfulness Program for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Targeting Stress Reduction

ArticleinAmerican journal of health promotion: AJHP 30(1) · August 2014with 113 Reads
Abstract
Purpose: Poorly managed stress leads to detrimental physical and psychological consequences that have implications for individual and community health. Evidence indicates that U.S. adults predominantly use unhealthy strategies for stress management. This study examines the impact of a community-based mindfulness training program on stress reduction. Design: This study used a one-group pretest-posttest design. Setting: The study took place at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center in urban Los Angeles. Subjects: A sample of N = 127 community residents (84% Caucasian, 74% female) were included in the study. Intervention: Participants received mindfulness training through the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for Daily Living I. Measures: Mindfulness, self-compassion, and perceived stress were measured at baseline and postintervention. Analysis: Paired-sample t-tests were used to test for changes in outcome measures from baseline to postintervention. Hierarchical regression analysis was fit to examine whether change in self-reported mindfulness and self-compassion predicted postintervention perceived stress scores. Results: There were statistically significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness (t = -10.67, p < .001, d = .90), self-compassion (t = -8.50, p < .001, d = .62), and perceived stress (t = 9.28, p < .001, d = -.78) at postintervention. Change in self-compassion predicted postintervention perceived stress (β = -.44, t = -5.06, p < .001), but change in mindfulness did not predict postintervention perceived stress (β = -.04, t = -.41, p = .68). Conclusion: These results indicate that a community-based mindfulness training program can lead to reduced levels of psychological stress. Mindfulness training programs such as MAPs may offer a promising approach for general public health promotion through improving stress management in the urban community.

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    Understanding how exercise influences health is important in designing public health interventions. At present, evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between exercise and health. However, whether this relationship is partly due to the stress-moderating impact of exercise has been less frequently investigated although more and more people are taxed by stressful life circumstances. A comprehensive review of studies testing the potential of exercise as a stress-buffer was conducted (including literature from 1982 to 2008). The findings are based on a narrative review method. Specific criteria were taken into account to evaluate causality of the evidence. About half of the studies reported at least partly supportive results in the sense that people with high exercise levels exhibit less health problems when they encounter stress. The causality analyses show that stress-moderation effects were consistently found in different samples and with different methodological approaches. Although more support results from cross-sectional studies, exercise-based stress-buffer effects were also found in prospective, longitudinal and quasi-experimental investigations. This review underscores the relevance of exercise as a public health resource. Recommendations are provided for future research. More prospective and experimental studies are needed to provide insight into how much exercise is necessary to trigger stress-buffer effects. Furthermore, more information is warranted to conclude which sort of exercise has the strongest impact on the stress-illness-relationship.
  • Article
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    Although the efficacy of meditation interventions has been examined among adult samples, meditation treatment effects among youth are relatively unknown. We systematically reviewed empirical studies for the health-related effects of sitting-meditative practices implemented among youth aged 6 to 18 years in school, clinic, and community settings. A systematic review of electronic databases (PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, Cochrane Reviews Database, Google Scholar) was conducted from 1982 to 2008, obtaining a sample of 16 empirical studies related to sitting-meditation interventions among youth. Meditation modalities included mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Study samples primarily consisted of youth with preexisting conditions such as high-normal blood pressure, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. Studies that examined physiologic outcomes were composed almost entirely of African American/black participants. Median effect sizes were slightly smaller than those obtained from adult samples and ranged from 0.16 to 0.29 for physiologic outcomes and 0.27 to 0.70 for psychosocial/behavioral outcomes. Sitting meditation seems to be an effective intervention in the treatment of physiologic, psychosocial, and behavioral conditions among youth. Because of current limitations, carefully constructed research is needed to advance our understanding of sitting meditation and its future use as an effective treatment modality among younger populations.
  • Article
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    Emotionally significant experiences tend to be well remembered, and the amygdala has a pivotal role in this process. But the efficient encoding of emotional memories can become maladaptive - severe stress often turns them into a source of chronic anxiety. Here, we review studies that have identified neural correlates of stress-induced modulation of amygdala structure and function - from cellular mechanisms to their behavioural consequences. The unique features of stress-induced plasticity in the amygdala, in association with changes in other brain regions, could have long-term consequences for cognitive performance and pathological anxiety exhibited in people with affective disorders.
  • Article
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    Chronic exposure to stress hormones, whether it occurs during the prenatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood or aging, has an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health. However, the specific effects on the brain, behaviour and cognition emerge as a function of the timing and the duration of the exposure, and some also depend on the interaction between gene effects and previous exposure to environmental adversity. Advances in animal and human studies have made it possible to synthesize these findings, and in this Review a model is developed to explain why different disorders emerge in individuals exposed to stress at different times in their lives.
  • Article
    This paper presents evidence from three samples, two of college students and one of participants in a community smoking-cessation program, for the reliability and validity of a 14-item instrument, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), designed to measure the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful. The PSS showed adequate reliability and, as predicted, was correlated with life-event scores, depressive and physical symptomatology, utilization of health services, social anxiety, and smoking-reduction maintenance. In all comparisons, the PSS was a better predictor of the outcome in question than were life-event scores. When compared to a depressive symptomatology scale, the PSS was found to measure a different and independently predictive construct. Additional data indicate adequate reliability and validity of a four-item version of the PSS for telephone interviews. The PSS is suggested for examining the role of nonspecific appraised stress in the etiology of disease and behavioral disorders and as an outcome measure of experienced levels of stress.
  • Article
    The practice of mindfulness meditation was used in a 10-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program to train chronic pain patients in self-regulation. The meditation facilitates an attentional stance towards proprioception known as detached observation. This appears to cause an "uncoupling " of the sensory dimension of the pain experience from the affective/evaluative alarm reaction and reduce the experience of suffering via cognitive reappraisal. Data are presented on 51 chronic pain patients who had not improved with traditional medical care. The dominant pain categories were low back, neck and shoulder, and headache. Facial pain, angina pectoris, noncoronary chest pain, and GI pain were also represented. At 10 weeks, 65% of the patients showed a reduction of greater than or equal to 33% in the mean total Pain Rating Index (Melzack) and 50% showed a reduction of greater than or equal to 50%. Similar decreases were recorded on other pain indices and in the number of medical symptoms reported. Large and significant reductions in mood disturbance and psychiatric symptomatology accompanied these changes and were relatively stable on follow-up. These improvements were independent of the pain category. We conclude that this form of meditation can be used as the basis for an effective behavioral program in self-regulation for chronic pain patients. Key features of the program structure, and the limitations of the present uncontrolled study are discussed.
  • Article
    We tested the short-term efficacy and feasibility of two stress education approaches toe the treatment of mild hypertension in older African Americans. This was a randomized, controlled, single-blind trial with 3 months of follow-up in primary care, inner-city health center. Of 213 African American men and women screened, 127 individuals (aged 55 to 85 years with initial diastolic pressure of 90 to 109 mm Hg, systolic pressure of < or = 189 mm Hg, and final baseline blood pressure of < or = 179/104 mm Hg) were selected. Of these, 16 did not complete follow-up blood pressure measurements. Mental and physical stress reduction approaches (Transcendental Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation) were compared with a lifestyle modification education control program and with each other. The primary outcome measures were changes in clinic diastolic and systolic pressures from baseline to final follow-up, measured by blinded observers. The secondary measures were linear blood pressure trends, changes in home blood pressure, and intervention compliance. Adjusted for significant baseline differences and compared with control, Transcendental Meditation reduced systolic pressure by 10.7 mm Hg (P < .0003) and diastolic pressure by 6.4 mm Hg (P <.00005). Progressive muscle relaxation lowered systolic pressure by 4.7 mm Hg (P = 0054) and diastolic pressure by 3.3 mm Hg (P <.02). The reductions in the Transcendental Meditation group were significantly greater than in the progressive muscle relaxation group for both systolic blood pressure (P = .02) and diastolic blood pressure (P = .03). Linear trend analysis confirmed these patterns.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
  • Article
    This article presents a new formulation of the relationship between stress and the processes leading to disease. It emphasizes the hidden cost of chronic stress to the body over long time periods, which act as a predisposing factor for the effects of acute, stressful life events. It also presents a model showing how individual differences in the susceptibility to stress are tied to individual behavioral responses to environmental challenges that are coupled to physiologic and pathophysiologic responses. Published original articles from human and animal studies and selected reviews. Literature was surveyed using MEDLINE. Independent extraction and cross-referencing by us. Stress is frequently seen as a significant contributor to disease, and clinical evidence is mounting for specific effects of stress on immune and cardiovascular systems. Yet, until recently, aspects of stress that precipitate disease have been obscure. The concept of homeostasis has failed to help us understand the hidden toll of chronic stress on the body. Rather than maintaining constancy, the physiologic systems within the body fluctuate to meet demands from external forces, a state termed allostasis. In this article, we extend the concept of allostasis over the dimension of time and we define allostatic load as the cost of chronic exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuroendocrine response resulting from repeated or chronic environmental challenge that an individual reacts to as being particularly stressful. This new formulation emphasizes the cascading relationships, beginning early in life, between environmental factors and genetic predispositions that lead to large individual differences in susceptibility to stress and, in some cases, to disease. There are now empirical studies based on this formulation, as well as new insights into mechanisms involving specific changes in neural, neuroendocrine, and immune systems. The practical implications of this formulation for clinical practice and further research are discussed.
  • Article
    The objective of this study was to assess the effects of participation in a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood disturbance and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. A randomized, wait-list controlled design was used. A convenience sample of eligible cancer patients enrolled after giving informed consent and were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment condition or a wait-list control condition. Patients completed the Profile of Mood States and the Symptoms of Stress Inventory both before and after the intervention. The intervention consisted of a weekly meditation group lasting 1.5 hours for 7 weeks plus home meditation practice. Ninety patients (mean age, 51 years) completed the study. The group was heterogeneous in type and stage of cancer. Patients' mean preintervention scores on dependent measures were equivalent between groups. After the intervention, patients in the treatment group had significantly lower scores on Total Mood Disturbance and subscales of Depression, Anxiety, Anger, and Confusion and more Vigor than control subjects. The treatment group also had fewer overall Symptoms of Stress; fewer Cardiopulmonary and Gastrointestinal symptoms; less Emotional Irritability, Depression, and Cognitive Disorganization; and fewer Habitual Patterns of stress. Overall reduction in Total Mood Disturbance was 65%, with a 31% reduction in Symptoms of Stress. This program was effective in decreasing mood disturbance and stress symptoms in both male and female patients with a wide variety of cancer diagnoses, stages of illness, and ages. cancer, stress, mood, intervention, mindfulness.
  • Article
    This study examined the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on health-related quality of life and physical and psychological symptomatology in a heterogeneous patient population. Patients (n=136) participated in an 8-week MBSR program and were required to practice 20 min of meditation daily. Pre- and post-intervention data were collected by using the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), Medical Symptom Checklist (MSCL) and Symptom Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90-R). Health-related quality of life was enhanced as demonstrated by improvement on all indices of the SF-36, including vitality, bodily pain, role limitations caused by physical health, and social functioning (all P<.01). Alleviation of physical symptoms was revealed by a 28% reduction on the MSCL (P<.0001). Decreased psychological distress was indicated on the SCL-90-R by a 38% reduction on the Global Severity Index, a 44% reduction on the anxiety subscale, and a 34% reduction on the depression subscale (all P<.0001). One-year follow-up revealed maintenance of initial improvements on several outcome parameters. We conclude that a group mindfulness meditation training program can enhance functional status and well-being and reduce physical symptoms and psychological distress in a heterogeneous patient population and that the intervention may have long-term beneficial effects.
  • Article
    Negative emotions can intensify a variety of health threats. We provide a broad framework relating negative emotions to a range of diseases whose onset and course may be influenced by the immune system; inflammation has been linked to a spectrum of conditions associated with aging, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer's disease, frailty and functional decline, and periodontal disease. Production of proinflammatory cytokines that influence these and other conditions can be directly stimulated by negative emotions and stressful experiences. Additionally, negative emotions also contribute to prolonged infection and delayed wound healing, processes that fuel sustained proinflammatory cytokine production. Accordingly, we argue that distress-related immune dysregulation may be one core mechanism behind a large and diverse set of health risks associated with negative emotions. Resources such as close personal relationships that diminish negative emotions enhance health in part through their positive impact on immune and endocrine regulation.
  • Article
    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a clinical program, developed to facilitate adaptation to medical illness, which provides systematic training in mindfulness meditation as a self-regulatory approach to stress reduction and emotion management. There has been widespread and growing use of this approach within medical settings in the last 20 years, and many claims have been made regarding its efficacy. This article will provide a critical evaluation of the available state of knowledge regarding MBSR and suggestions for future research. A review of the current literature available within the medical and social sciences was undertaken to provide an evaluation regarding what we know about the construct of mindfulness, the effectiveness of MBSR, and mechanisms of action. There has been a paucity of research and what has been published has been rife with methodological problems. At present, we know very little about the effectiveness of this approach. However, there is some evidence that suggests that it may hold some promise. The available evidence does not support a strong endorsement of this approach at present. However, serious investigation is warranted and strongly recommended.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress.
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    Full-text available
    The effects of adrenal corticosteroids on subsequent adrenocorticotropin secretion are complex. Acutely (within hours), glucocorticoids (GCs) directly inhibit further activity in the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, but the chronic actions (across days) of these steroids on brain are directly excitatory. Chronically high concentrations of GCs act in three ways that are functionally congruent. (i) GCs increase the expression of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) mRNA in the central nucleus of the amygdala, a critical node in the emotional brain. CRF enables recruitment of a chronic stress-response network. (ii) GCs increase the salience of pleasurable or compulsive activities (ingesting sucrose, fat, and drugs, or wheel-running). This motivates ingestion of "comfort food." (iii) GCs act systemically to increase abdominal fat depots. This allows an increased signal of abdominal energy stores to inhibit catecholamines in the brainstem and CRF expression in hypothalamic neurons regulating adrenocorticotropin. Chronic stress, together with high GC concentrations, usually decreases body weight gain in rats; by contrast, in stressed or depressed humans chronic stress induces either increased comfort food intake and body weight gain or decreased intake and body weight loss. Comfort food ingestion that produces abdominal obesity, decreases CRF mRNA in the hypothalamus of rats. Depressed people who overeat have decreased cerebrospinal CRF, catecholamine concentrations, and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal activity. We propose that people eat comfort food in an attempt to reduce the activity in the chronic stress-response network with its attendant anxiety. These mechanisms, determined in rats, may explain some of the epidemic of obesity occurring in our society.
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    In order to assess health care providers' training, perceptions, and practices regarding stress and health outcomes, a survey was administered to primary care providers in the outpatient medical clinics of a southeastern urban hospital serving a predominantly African-American indigent population. One-hundred-fifty-one of 210 providers (72%) responded. Forty-two percent of respondents reported receiving no instruction regarding stress and health outcomes during their medical/professional education. While 90% believed stress management was "very" or "somewhat" effective in improving health outcomes, 45% "rarely" or "never" discussed stress management with their patients. Respondents were twice as likely to believe that counseling patients about smoking, nutrition, or exercise was more important than counseling them about stress. Seventy-six percent lacked confidence in their ability to counsel patients about stress. The majority of respondents (57%) "rarely" or "never" practiced stress reduction techniques themselves. Belief in the importance of stress counseling, its effectiveness in improving health, and confidence in one's ability to teach relaxation techniques were all related to the probability that providers would counsel patients regarding stress. There is a need for curriculum reform that emphasizes new knowledge about stress and disease, new skills in stress reduction, and more positive beliefs about mind/body medicine and its integration into the existing health care structure.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that employs mindfulness meditation to alleviate suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. The program, nonreligious and nonesoteric, is based upon a systematic procedure to develop enhanced awareness of moment-to-moment experience of perceptible mental processes. The approach assumes that greater awareness will provide more veridical perception, reduce negative affect and improve vitality and coping. In the last two decades, a number of research reports appeared that seem to support many of these claims. We performed a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies of health-related studies related to MBSR. Sixty-four empirical studies were found, but only 20 reports met criteria of acceptable quality or relevance to be included in the meta-analysis. Reports were excluded due to (1) insufficient information about interventions, (2) poor quantitative health evaluation, (3) inadequate statistical analysis, (4) mindfulness not being the central component of intervention, or (5) the setting of intervention or sample composition deviating too widely from the health-related MBSR program. Acceptable studies covered a wide spectrum of clinical populations (e.g., pain, cancer, heart disease, depression, and anxiety), as well as stressed nonclinical groups. Both controlled and observational investigations were included. Standardized measures of physical and mental well-being constituted the dependent variables of the analysis. Overall, both controlled and uncontrolled studies showed similar effect sizes of approximately 0.5 (P<.0001) with homogeneity of distribution. Although derived from a relatively small number of studies, these results suggest that MBSR may help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical and nonclinical problems.
  • Article
    Solid organ transplant patients require life-long immune suppression that can produce distressing side effects and complications. To evaluate the potential of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance and improve quality of life after solid organ transplantation. Longitudinal with evaluations at baseline, postcourse and 3-month follow-up. Kidney, lung, or pancreas transplant recipients (N=20), aged 35 to 59 years, living in the community. An MBSR class (2.5 hours weekly, for 8 weeks), modeled after the program of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Home practice (goal: 45 minutes, 5 days weekly) was monitored. Self-report scales for depression (CES-D), anxiety (STAI-Y1), and sleep dysfunction (PSQI). Nineteen participants completed the course. Findings suggest improvement from baseline symptom scores for depression (P=.006) and sleep (P=.011) at the completion of the MBSR program. At 3 months, improvement in sleep continued (P=.002), and a significant improvement in anxiety scores was seen (P=.043); scores for both symptoms demonstrated a linear trend and dose-response relationship with practice time. In contrast, depression scores showed a quadratic trend, and at 3 months were no longer different from baseline. A composite symptom measure was significantly improved at 3-month follow-up (P=.007). Global and health-related quality of life ratings were not improved. Effects of group support and instructor attention were not controlled, and sample size and follow-up time were limited. A randomized trial to overcome these shortcomings should be done, as symptom distress in transplant recipients appears responsive to MBSR.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    A self-report inventory for the assessment of mindfulness skills was developed, and its psychometric characteristics and relationships with other constructs were examined. Participants included three samples of undergraduate students and a sample of outpatients with borderline personality disorder Based on discussions of mindfulness in the current literature, four mindfulness skills were specified: observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgment. Scales designed to measure each skill were developed and evaluated. Results showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability and a clear factor structure. Most expected relationships with other constructs were significant. Findings suggest that mindfulness skills are differentially related to aspects of personality and mental health, including neuroticism, psychological symptoms, emotional intelligence, alexithymia, experiential avoidance, dissociation, and absorption.
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    Full-text available
    Much of today's psychological trauma can be identified as resulting from sudden and seemingly random events, and particularly from events that involve the loss of human life. This article presents a perspective on how behavioral health providers may approach the design, development, and implementation of community-based psychological trauma interventions. These interventions allow those community members most affected by the trauma to play a central role in the resolution of, and community adaptation to, traumatic losses. After a brief discussion of "critical incident stress debriefing"--a common form of psychological "first aid" that is sometimes used following traumatic events that affect a community--the article turns to the description of a community-based trauma-response program that provides a continuum-of-care model for the care and management of individual and group reactions to shared, traumatic events. A recent evaluation of that program, which was developed by the Community Services Program of the Trauma Center in Boston, is presented as an important first step toward determining the types of community-based responses that show promise in our efforts to ameliorate the impact of traumatic events in communities nationwide and internationally.
  • Article
    Psychological stress elicits measurable changes in sympathetic-parasympathetic balance and the tone of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which might negatively affect the cardiovascular system both acutely-by precipitating myocardial infarction, left-ventricular dysfunction, or dysrhythmia; and chronically-by accelerating the atherosclerotic process. We provide an overview of the association between stress and cardiovascular morbidity, discuss the mechanisms for this association, and address possible therapeutic implications.
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    Full-text available
    Increasing evidence demonstrates that neuroplasticity, a fundamental mechanism of neuronal adaptation, is disrupted in mood disorders and in animal models of stress. Here we provide an overview of the evidence that chronic stress, which can precipitate or exacerbate depression, disrupts neuroplasticity, while antidepressant treatment produces opposing effects and can enhance neuroplasticity. We discuss neuroplasticity at different levels: structural plasticity (such as plastic changes in spine and dendrite morphology as well as adult neurogenesis), functional synaptic plasticity, and the molecular and cellular mechanisms accompanying such changes. Together, these studies elucidate mechanisms that may contribute to the pathophysiology of depression. Greater appreciation of the convergence of mechanisms between stress, depression, and neuroplasticity is likely to lead to the identification of novel targets for more efficacious treatments.
  • Article
    E motional and physical stresses have a negative impact on the heart and the vascular system. Acute stress happens all at once; chronic stress occurs over a longer time period. Stress hormones (catecholamines, including epinephrine, which is also known as adrenaline) have damaging effects if the heart is exposed to elevated catecholamine levels for a long time. Stress can cause increased oxygen demand on the body, spasm of the coronary (heart) blood vessels, and electrical instability in the heart' s conduction system. Chronic stress has been shown to increase the heart rate and blood pressure, making the heart work harder to produce the blood flow needed for bodily functions. Long-term elevations in blood pressure, also seen with essential hypertension (high blood pressure not related to stress), are harmful and can lead to myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and stroke. The October 10, 2007, issue of JAMA contains an article about the effects of chronic job stress on the heart and the cardiovascular system., issue; and one on risk factors for heart disease was published in the August 20, 2003, issue.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Despite widespread public belief that psychological stress leads to disease, the biomedical community remains skeptical of this conclusion. In this Commentary, we discuss the plausibility of the belief that stress contributes to a variety of disease processes and summarize the role of stress in 4 major diseases: clinical depression, cardiovascular disease (CVD), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS, and cancer.Corresponding Author: Sheldon Cohen, PhD, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (scohen@cmu.edu).Financial Disclosures: Dr Cohen reported consulting for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc on issues of stress measurement. None of the other authors reported any financial disclosures.Role of the Sponsor: This article is based on a paper commissioned by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients and Families in Community Settings. The Institute of Medicine suggested the topic but played no role in structuring the paper; in the collection, management, and interpretation of the data; or the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.Additional Contributions: We thank David Krantz, PhD (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences), Margaret Kemeny, PhD (School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco), Stephen Manuck, PhD, and Karen Matthews, PhD (University of Pittsburgh), and Scott Monroe, PhD (Notre Dame University), for their comments on an earlier draft; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health and members of the Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center (HL65111, HL65112) for their intellectual support; and Ellen Conser, MA, Ashleigh Molz, and Wesley Barnhart, BS (Carnegie Mellon University), for assistance in preparing the manuscript. None of these individuals received any extra compensation for their contributions.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    It would be appealing to attempt to categorize depression in terms of monoamine-depletion forms that are perhaps related to genes coding for enzymes involved in neurotransmission and cortisolrelated forms that are characterized by a more long-term course, hippocampal atrophy, and a history of psychosocial stress. However, the clinical data do not fall into such neat categories, since monoamine-based antidepressants are most effective in patients with severe depression when cortisol levels remain high after the administration of dexamethasone. Major depressive disorder is likely to have a number of causes. Middle-aged or elderly patients presenting with depression may have a disorder related to cardiovascular disease and originating from endothelial dysfunction.128 Patients in their late teens or early 20s who have severe depression may have important genetic risk factors and a high risk of manic episodes.8 In patients with an anxious and depressive personality, depression may be due to genetically determined personality factors11 or adverse childhood experiences.129 Avoidance of premature closure on any one scientific theory of the mechanism of depression will best serve the search for new, more effective treatments. It is likely that the pathogenesis of acute depression is different from that of recurrent or chronic depression, which is characterized by long-term declines in function and cognition. Mood can be elevated (by stimulants,46 by brain stimulation,123 or by ketamine94) or depressed (by monoamine depletion19 in recovered patients) for short periods, but longer-term improvement may require reduction of the abnormal glucocorticoid function induced by stress or increases in brain neurotrophic factors.
  • Article
    Substantial evidence indicates that psychosocial stress contributes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Previous meta-analyses of stress reduction and high blood pressure (BP) were outdated and/or methodologically limited. Therefore, we conducted an updated systematic review of the published literature and identified 107 studies on stress reduction and BP. Seventeen trials with 23 treatment comparisons and 960 participants with elevated BP met criteria for well-designed randomized controlled trials and were replicated within intervention categories. Meta-analysis was used to calculate BP changes for biofeedback, -0.8/-2.0 mm Hg (P = NS); relaxation-assisted biofeedback, +4.3/+2.4 mm Hg (P = NS); progressive muscle relaxation, -1.9/-1.4 mm Hg (P = NS); stress management training, -2.3/-1.3 mm (P = NS); and the Transcendental Meditation program, -5.0/-2.8 mm Hg (P = 0.002/0.02). Available evidence indicates that among stress reduction approaches, the Transcendental Meditation program is associated with significant reductions in BP. Related data suggest improvements in other CVD risk factors and clinical outcomes.
  • Full Catastrophe Living: The Program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center
    • J Kabat-Zinn
    Kabat-Zinn J. Full Catastrophe Living: The Program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. New York, NY: Delta; 1990.
  • Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: new perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology
    • Jk Kiecolt-Glaser
    • L Mcguire
    • Tf Robles
    • R Glaser
    Kiecolt-Glaser JK, McGuire L, Robles TF, Glaser R. Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: new perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Annu Rev Psychol. 2002;53:83–107.
  • Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
    • Sl Smalley
    • D Winston
    Smalley SL, Winston D. Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. Philadelphia, Pa: Da Capo Press; 2010.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: a metaanalysis
    • P Grossman
    • L Niemann
    • S Schmidt
    • H Walach
    Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: a metaanalysis. J Psychosom Res. 2004;57:35–43.
  • Stress and the individual: mechanisms leading to disease
    • Bs Mcewen
    • E Stellar
    McEwen BS, Stellar E. Stress and the individual: mechanisms leading to disease. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:2093–2101.