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Improving Personality/Character Traits in Individuals with Alcohol Dependence: The Influence of Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation

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Abstract

ABSTRACT The study of personality is critical to enhance our knowledge of the psychological characteristics of alcohol dependence (AD). Recent evidence shows that mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) positively influences healthy individuals' character. Here we assessed whether 8-week MOM promotes similar changes in a group of alcohol-dependent individuals. A control group with AD was also tested. MOM participants showed an increase in the character scores of the Temperament and Character Inventory together with reduced risks of relapse. These longitudinal data highlight the importance of assessing personality in alcohol-dependent individuals and support the utility of therapeutic interventions for AD aimed at enhancing individuals' character.

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... The aim of the present study was to further assess whether mindfulness meditation practiced individually or in a group setting results in different outcomes between the two groups. Measured outcomes focused on mindfulness skills and on other individual dimensions such as practitioners' personality and religiousness/spirituality (Carmody and Baer 2008;Campanella et al. 2014;Crescentini et al. 2014Crescentini et al. , 2015Crescentini et al. , 2017. ...
... The MOM training delivered to GMM participants was based on the program followed by Campanella et al. (2014) and Crescentini et al. (2014Crescentini et al. ( , 2015Crescentini et al. ( , 2016Crescentini et al. ( , 2017; see also Fabbro and Muratori 2012) and was inspired by the MBSR program. It consisted of 8 weekly encounters of 2 h each. ...
... Thus, individual efforts to meditate may have taken root particularly in participants with low pre-existing SD, who also had to meditate alone, in a process that resembles the effect of the reactive control negative feedback theorized in many theories of self-regulation (Bandura 1991), which suggest that those who are more in need are more motivated to aid their own recovery. Nonetheless, the presence of a trend instead of a fully significant effect for the character scales in the GMM group could likely be considered a peculiarity of this particular group, as both the performance of the SMM group in the current study and previous researches on (healthy and clinical) adult participants Crescentini et al. 2015Crescentini et al. , 2017 showed that 8-week MOM training delivered in group settings may help to improve overall self-maturity working on aspects such as purposefulness, self-and social-acceptance, sense of responsibility, and empathy and compassion. ...
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Multiple lines of evidence show that mindfulness meditation (MM) improves practitioners’ mental health. To date, most studies have tested the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI), which typically combine the practice of mindfulness with in-class psychoeducation and discussions between teacher and practitioners. However, much less is known about the effects of MM practiced in individual settings. The present research investigated the impact of MM in individual (i.e., single) and group settings by testing mindfulness skills, personality profiles, religious/spiritual self-representation, and adherence to the training program, in relation to two groups of healthy adult practitioners. Findings showed that both groups of participants improved in all outcome measures (mindfulness skills, character maturity, and religiousness/spirituality) with no between-group differences, except for a more pronounced effect on the character maturity of those in an individual MM setting, during the 8-week individual and group MM trainings. Moreover, participants to individual and group MM settings meditated at home for a comparable amount of time and dropped out from their training at similar rates. The results suggest that MBI may have potential benefits both when performed in group settings and in individual settings, emphasizing the importance of mindfulness practice for personal growth and healing.
... Objective 2: to examine the changes in the two groups that occurred from before to after the MOM course; this also allows observation of the between-group differences after the intervention. Based on the previous literature on the effects of MBIs [23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34], which referred to periods free from global health emergencies like that related to the Covid-19 pandemic, we hypothesized that both groups of teachers experienced similar improvements in mindfulness skills, empathy, character traits and interoceptive awareness (H2). As the psychological impact of compulsory isolation in the context of a world-wide pandemic has not previously been examined in relation to mindfulness meditation courses, the analyses of changes in the measures of psychological well-being, burnout and emotional distress (anxiety and depression) were exploratory. ...
... The MOM course is an 8-week training program, with a 2 h group meeting per week and 30 min daily meditation practice at home [31,32,36,60,[62][63][64]. In its structure it is similar to an MBSR course (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction), the most common mindfulness meditation program developed by Kabat-Zinn [65]. ...
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The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent public health measures were shown to impact negatively on people's mental health. In particular, women were reported to be at higher risk than men of developing symptoms of stress/anxiety/depression, and resilience was considered a key factor for positive mental health outcomes. In the present study, a sample of Italian female teachers (n = 66, age: 51.5 ± 7.9 years) was assessed with self-report instruments one month before and one month after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown: mindfulness skills, empathy, personality profiles, interoceptive awareness, psychological well-being, emotional distress and burnout levels were measured. Meanwhile, they received an 8-week Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) course, through two group meetings and six individual video-lessons. Based on baseline personality profiles, analyses of variance were performed in a low-resilience (LR, n = 32) and a high-resilience (HR, n = 26) group. The LR and HR groups differed at baseline in most of the self-report measures. Pre-post MOM significant improvements were found in both groups in anxiety, depression, affective empathy, emotional exhaustion, psychological well-being, interoceptive awareness, character traits and mindfulness levels. Improvements in depression and psychological well-being were higher in the LR vs. HR group. We conclude that mindfulness-based training can effectively mitigate the psychological negative consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak, helping in particular to restore well-being in the most vulnerable individuals.
... In the biopsychosocial model of personality, on which the Temperament and Character Inventory is based, harm avoidance is the dimension of temperament linked to worry/pessimism, fear of uncertainty, shyness and fatigability (64,77,95). Although temperament should bear a greater stability throughout life compared to character (96), among the temperamental traits harm avoidance is considered to be the most susceptible to mood and anxiety (97,98), as well as to experiences such as trainings [e.g., (99,100)] or therapy [e.g., (101,102)]. In our study, a decreased level of harm avoidance in the overall sample was observed in comparison with pre-pandemic data, which was mainly due to the decrease of scores in boys. ...
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In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, a large body of research has identified a negative impact on individuals' affectivity, frequently documented by increased prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms. For children, this research was less extensive, was mainly based on caregivers' reports and neglected personality assessment. In order to measure the impact of the pandemic, and the fears it caused, on primary school children's affect and personality, 323 (180 boys and 143 girls) Italian third, fourth and fifth graders were assessed between October and November 2020, namely during the second wave of COVID-19 infections in Italy, with validated self-reports of affect (Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children, PANAS-C), fear of COVID-19 (Fear of COVID-19 Scale, FCV-19S) and personality (junior Temperament and Character Inventory, jTCI). In comparison with PANAS-C and jTCI normative scores collected prior to the pandemic, data obtained from children in 2020 showed unchanged affect scores in the overall sample, a decrease of Positive Affect in girls, and a decrease in the Harm Avoidance and an increase in the Self-Transcendence scales of personality. Fear of COVID-19 scores were positively correlated with Negative Affect scores and negatively predicted by children's personality profile of resilience (calculated using scores on the Harm Avoidance and the Self-Directedness scales of personality). These results suggested that Italian primary school children, especially boys, maintained their pre-pandemic levels of affect (or restored them after the first COVID-19 wave) and partially diverged from the typical development of personality in an apparently positive sense, namely toward more courageous/optimistic and spiritual profiles. This sort of children's post-traumatic growth might also be attributed to children's family and education systems, which should continue to be supported to promote and maintain community mental health.
... Terock, Janowitz, Spitze, Mierts, Freyberger, and Grabe (2015) found that initial higher levels of Self-Directedness predicted better outcome in the treatment of a cohort of day-clinic psychiatric patients; they also showed that successful treatment outcome was associated with attaining higher levels of Self-Directedness. Crescentini, Matiz, & Fabbro (2015) found in a controlled study of alcohol dependent patients, that an 8 session mindfulness training intervention not only improved the patients' resistance to relapse, it also significantly affected all three character traits as measured by the TCI, i.e. Self-Directedness, Cooperativeness, and Self-Transcendence. ...
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This study examined the possibility that personality would change in the course of a positive psychology intervention, and would add to therapeutic gain. 89 participants were randomly assigned into the intervention group (N= 45) and the waiting-list group (N= 44). The intervention followed 6-week-online-protocol. Participants reported on the Steen Happiness Index (SHI), The Positive Psychotherapy Index (PPTI), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SLS) as well as on the temperament scales Harm Avoidance and Persistence, and the character trait Self-Directedness three times: at outset, post-intervention, and four weeks later at follow-up. Hypotheses were tested using growth curve analysis and regression analysis. The intervention group gained in all three happiness measures, in the personality traits Self-Directedness and Persistence and decreased in Harm Avoidance relative to the waiting-list group. Regression analyses revealed that the change in personality traits, and particularly in Self-Directedness mediated the therapeutic gains in the SHI as well as in the PPTI, but not in SLS. Although personality is basically very stable, successful interventions can bring about beneficial changes in personality which may in turn help to maintain therapeutic gains. The role of personality change in psychotherapy should be studied across therapeutic approaches, settings, and psychiatric diagnoses.
... Both have several years of experience with mindfulness meditation. The training was based on the practice (summarized below) proposed by Campanella, Crescentini, Urgesi, and Fabbro (2014), Crescentini, Matiz, and Fabbro (2015), Crescentini, Urgesi, Campanella, Eleopra, and Fabbro (2014) and Fabbro and Muratori (2012), which are in turn based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (Kabat-Zinn, 1982, 1990. The MOM course consisted of 8 weekly meetings of about 2 h each. ...
Article
Several studies in the literature have shown positive psychophysical effects during or immediately after mindfulness meditation. However, the extent to which such positive effects are maintained in real-life, stressful contexts, remains unclear. This paper investigates the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) program on the psychological and physiological responses evoked by immersive virtual environments (IVEs) that simulate emergency situations that may occur in life. Before and after the 8-week period, healthy MOM participants and a group of controls not involved in any meditation course were administered self-report measures of mindfulness and anxiety, and acted in the IVEs while a set of physiological parameters were recorded. Responses of MOM participants to the immersive virtual experiences were different from those of controls. MOM participants showed increased mindfulness and decreased anxiety levels. They also showed decreased heart rate and corrugator muscle activity while facing IVEs. We explain these results in terms of the awareness and acceptance components of mindfulness. More generally, the present experimental methods could also open up new lines of research that combine psychological and physiological indices with ecologically valid stimuli provided by IVEs in an effort to increase understanding of the impact of mindfulness meditation on realistic life situations.
... The MOM training consisted of an 8-week intervention conducted by two mindfulness-meditation instructors with several years of experience with this technique and with education settings (VC and SF). The training was inspired by previous 8-week MOM interventions for clinical and non-clinical adult populations (Fabbro and Muratori, 2012;Campanella et al., 2014;Crescentini et al., 2014Crescentini et al., , 2015, which were in turn based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction protocol (MBSR; e.g., Kabat-Zinn, 1990, 2003. ...
Article
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Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly being used as methods to promote psychological well-being of clinical and nonclinical adult populations. Much less is known, however, on the feasibility of these forms of mental training on healthy primary school students. Here, we tested the effects of a mindfulness-meditation training on a group of 16 healthy children within 7–8 years of age from an Italian primary school. An active control condition focused on emotion awareness was employed on a group of 15 age-matched healthy children from the same school. Both programs were delivered by the same instructors three times per week, for 8 total weeks. The same main teacher of the two classes did not participate in the trainings but she completed questionnaires aimed at giving comprehensive pre-post training evaluations of behavior, social, emotion, and attention regulation skills in the children. A children’s self-report measure of mood and depressive symptoms was also used. From the teacher’s reports we found a specific positive effect of the mindfulness-meditation training in reducing attention problems and also positive effects of both trainings in reducing children's internalizing problems. However, subjectively, no child in either group reported less depressive symptoms after the trainings. The findings were interpreted as suggestive of a positive effect of mindfulness-meditation on several children’s psychological well-being dimensions and were also discussed in light of the discrepancy between teacher and children’s reports. More generally, the results were held to speak in favor of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for healthy primary school children.
... Mindfulness meditation contributes to enhancements in these dimensions which, for example, link a negative correlation with drinking motives [43] and alcohol-related stress [44]. Thirteen participants took part in 2-hour daily sessions from Monday to Friday for eight weeks, and practised 30 minutes of mindfulness-oriented meditation everyday at home [45], showing not only improvements in temperament and character maturity but also risk reductions in developing personality disorders and relapsing alcoholism. ...
Article
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Alcohol use disorder not only endangers individual physical and mental health, but also threatens social costs. Among multifarious treatments, meditation has become a growing option, with encouraging signs. This literature review provides an overview of the effectiveness of this approach, including mindfulness-based, vipassanā, and transcendental meditation, with 6,837 participants from the USA, the Netherlands, Italy, and Australia, in 27 research projects. Strengthening awareness and self-control, meditation practitioners were able to lessen drinking motives and disengage alcohol cues, resulting in alcohol-related self-efficacy, stress reduction, and finally dissipation of excessive alcohol consumption. These support the extension of using meditation in drinking interventions. In addition, recommendations are given for developing this method to tackle problematic alcohol use with more reliable data.
... A significant increase of the TCI aspects that measure the maturity of the self has been found in those participants who meditated regularly for two months. Effects of a MOM training have been investigated also in a clinical study with a group of patients with alcohol dependence; after two months of MOM training, subjects revealed increased maturity of the self [24]. ...
Article
The aim of the present review is to investigate previous studies concerning the effects of meditation and dispositional mindfulness on conscious and implicit or non-conscious attitudes. First we present a brief perspective on conscious and non-conscious states of mind. Then we introduce the fundamental bases of mindfulness meditation. Third we review studies on dispositional mindfulness and meditation that employed either direct or indirect measures to assess explicit and implicit attitudes. Finally, we briefly present how meditation has been associated with the psychotherapeutic practice of psychoanalysis and, hence, as a therapeutic technique to access the unconscious. Until now, few studies have investigated the impact of meditation on non-conscious states of mind and personality; nevertheless, both scientific studies involving implicit measures and reflections from psychotherapy have underlined the importance of meditation in promoting psychological well-being, leading to de-automatization of automatic patterns of responding and to higher levels of self-awareness.
... Since then, the MBSR has been widely used to reduce psychological distress associated with chronic illnesses and to treat a wide range of psychological and behavioral disorders (Didonna, 2009 Bowen et al., 2009); the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; Hayes, Follette & Linehan, 2004) and the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT; Kristeller & Wolever, 2011). Recently, the authors have proposed a method of mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) based on the original MBSR protocol Crescentini, Matiz, & Fabbro, 2015;Viviana Capurso, Franco Fabbro and Cristiano Crescentini 54 Crescentini, Urgesi, Campanella, Eleopra, & Fabbro, 2014;Fabbro & Muratori, 2012). ...
Chapter
Creativity can be defined as the phenomenon of creating something novel and useful (Ding, Tang, Tang, & Posner, 2014). In the past, creativity has been frequently associated with personal characteristics and personality traits. Now there is evidence that there are many different conditions and skills that can influence creative performance. One of them appears to be mindfulness meditation (MM). MM is a traditional form of Buddhist meditation that implies being attentive to and fully aware of present-moment experience with an open and non-judgmental attitude (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). So far, the existing body of literature on the relation between MM and creativity, insight problem solving and divergent/convergent thinking, has produced mixed results. For example, there is consistent evidence indicating that open monitoring, required during MM, leads to enhanced divergent thinking (Baas, Nevicka, & Ten Velden, 2014; Colzato, Ozturk, & Hommel, 2012; Ding, Tang, Tang, & Posner, 2014). Nonetheless, focused attention, another skill required during MM, should lead to better performance in convergent thinking tasks, but the findings on the association between focused attention and creativity are mixed (Baas et al., 2014; Colzato et al., 2012). The aim of this chapter is to give an overview of the existing literature on MM and creativity, providing a perspective on future directions of this promising line of research.
... The study by Li et al. (2017) thus shed further light on the relation between personality and neuropsychological function and has important clinical implications. Considering past evidence showing associations between temperament and risk of addiction (see Crescentini et al., 2015 for a brief review), the authors argued that addiction behavior may result in part from structural or functional impairments of the SN and associated affective/reward systems (e.g., MCC, caudate), which may lead to dysfunctions during salience expectancy (e.g., perceiving low-salience stimuli with higher significance) depending on individuals' personality predispositions. This possibility is in line with the conclusion of Uddin (2015) suggesting that atypical engagement of the SN by subjectively salient stimuli, together with atypical patterns of FC with other brain networks (CEN, DMN), could lead to dysfunctions of salience and attentional processing that are characteristic of many neuropsychiatric disorders, among which are schizophrenia and autism. ...
... As part of a larger study of 286 subjects with various substance abuse disorders including alcoholism found that a program of mindfulness-based relapse prevention led to significantly lower rates of relapse at 12-month follow-up (Bowen et al., 2014). Interestingly, it has been suggested that a positive change to the patient's own temperament (arguably improved due to less stress) is a significant predictive factor for the effectiveness of mindfulness to prevent relapse (Crescentini et al., 2015). It also appears that a Fig. 1. ...
Article
Relapse remains the most prominent hurdle to successful rehabilitation from alcoholism. The neural mechanisms underlying relapse are complex, but our understanding of the brain regions involved, the anatomical circuitry and the modulation of specific nuclei in the context of stress and cue-induced relapse have improved significantly in recent years. In particular, stress is now recognised as a significant trigger for relapse, adding to the well-established impact of chronic stress to escalate alcohol consumption. It is therefore unsurprising that the stress-responsive regions of the brain have also been implicated in alcohol relapse, such as the nucleus accumbens, amygdala and the hypothalamus. Environmental enrichment is a robust experimental paradigm which provides a non-pharmacological tool to alter stress response and, separately, alcohol-seeking behaviour and symptoms of withdrawal. In this review, we examine and consolidate the preclinical evidence that alcohol seeking behaviour and stress-induced relapse are modulated by environmental enrichment, and these are primarily mediated by modification of neural activity within the key nodes of the addiction circuitry. Finally, we discuss the limited clinical evidence that stress-reducing approaches such as mindfulness could potentially serve as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of alcoholism.
... Mindfulness aims to promote physical and mental health by guiding individuals to fully perceive and accept the experience of all kinds of cognition, thoughts, emotions, and physical changes that are currently occurring without judging. In recent years, studies have found that mindfulness has a positive influence on personality (52), focusing on the improvement and promotion of personality to achieve effective intervention for certain addictive disorders (53). Our study also finds that mindfulness promotes depression by improving trait anxiety levels, suggesting that the healing mechanism for depression in mindfulness is related to changes in trait anxiety. ...
Article
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Background: Increasing studies have found that high trait anxiety is a key susceptibility phenotype that causes depression. Mindfulness-based interventions can target on dealing with depressogenic vulnerability effectively. Evidence indicates that trait anxiety could affect the trajectory of anti-depressive psychotherapy, and play an important role in the relationship between mindfulness and depression. Furthermore, related studies have found that trait anxiety could involve factors beyond anxiety and be a two-factor construct instead of one-dimensional concept. This viewpoint provides a new prospective for exploring the pathways of the two factors of trait anxiety in the complex relationship and further understand the potential mechanism of vulnerable personality mediated the link of mindfulness and depression. Methods: A cross-sectional survey and a preliminary intervention study were conducted. Thousand two hundred and sixty-two subjects completed a set of self-reported questionnaires that evaluated trait anxiety, mindfulness, and depressive symptoms. Twenty-Three eligible participants with depression were recruited to attend mindfulness-based cognitive training for eight weeks. The same questionnaires were completed 1 week before the training and 6 months after the training. Factor analysis was performed on the 1262-subject sample to explore and confirm the factorial structure of trait anxiety. In addition, mediating effect analysis was conducted in the two studies to test whether two factors of trait anxiety were mediators of the relationship between mindfulness and depression. Results: The exploratory factor analysis extracted two dimensions of trait anxiety, namely, trait anxiety-present factor (TA-P) and trait anxiety-absent factor (TA-A). And confirmatory factor analysis showed that the fit of the two-factor model was acceptable. Both TA-P and TA-A were significantly negatively correlated with mindfulness and positively correlated with depression, and they played a mediating role between mindfulness and depression. The two factors of trait anxiety had multiple mediating effects on the relationship between mindfulness and depression, and the mediating effect of the TA-P factor was stronger than that of the TA-A factor. Conclusion: Our results demonstrated a two-factor model of trait anxiety in the Chinese population. TA-P and TA-A played a multiple mediating role in the relationship between mindfulness and depression. The findings provide new perspectives for psychological interventions to treat depression for people with susceptible personalities. Aiming to reduce negative emotional tendencies (TA-P factor) and enhance positive cognition (TA-A factor) may achieve the early prevention and efficient treatment of depression.
... All participants had attended an 8-week Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) training course within the last 5 years and were recruited through email advertisements and personal invitations sent out to all former MOM trainees. MOM training is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program [66] and teaches participants how to practice mindfulness of breathing, bodily phenomena and thoughts [67][68][69][70][71][72]. Specifically, in relation to the eyes, this training instructs participants to practice meditation with the eyes closed. ...
Article
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Oculometric measures have been proven to be useful markers of mind-wandering during visual tasks such as reading. However, little is known about ocular activity during mindfulness meditation, a mental practice naturally involving mind-wandering episodes. In order to explore this issue, we extracted closed-eyes ocular movement measurements via a covert technique (EEG recordings) from expert meditators during two repetitions of a 7-minute mindfulness meditation session, focusing on the breath, and two repetitions of a 7-minute instructed mind-wandering task. Power spectral density was estimated on both the vertical and horizontal components of eye movements. The results show a significantly smaller average amplitude of eye movements in the delta band (1–4 Hz) during mindfulness meditation than instructed mind-wandering. Moreover, participants’ meditation expertise correlated significantly with this average amplitude during both tasks, with more experienced meditators generally moving their eyes less than less experienced meditators. These findings suggest the potential use of this measure to detect mind-wandering episodes during mindfulness meditation and to assess meditation performance.
... The authors argued that mindfulness may enhance long-term outcomes by strengthening participants' ability to cope with discomfort associated with cravings and negative affect. Crescentini et al. (2015) noted positive changes in character in patients with AUDs after eight sessions of mindfulness compared to TAU. For example, they noted increased persistence and cooperativeness in these patients. ...
Article
Aims: Third wave therapies have shown efficacy for treating emotional disorders and potential for treating substance use disorders. There is developing interest in whether they can more specifically be used for treating alcohol use disorders (AUDs). We were interested in whether third wave therapies have value alongside current evidence-based psychosocial treatments for AUDs. Method: We conducted systematic reviews of third wave therapies for AUDs. We searched PsycINFO, Embase and Medline for peer reviewed journal articles where mindfulness or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) were used to treat adults with AUDs or alcohol use that caused impairment. Results: We identified 11 studies where mindfulness was used for treating AUDs and 6 where ACT was used for AUDs. The studies identified included RCTs, non-randomized controlled studies and uncontrolled studies. We found preliminary support that both third wave therapies are better than no treatment, treatments of minimal efficacy, as well as some evidence they are comparable to effective psychosocial treatments for AUDs. Conclusions: We conclude ACT and mindfulness provide an alternative to existing treatments, particularly for patients who have not responded to, or have disengaged from, standard treatments. We also found some evidence ACT and mindfulness are useful for comorbid mental health conditions. Yet while these results are promising, further research is needed to determine their utility, ideally employing randomized-controlled designs, larger clinical samples and longer follow-ups. Furthermore, few studies in this review directly compared third wave therapies to first line treatments, making it difficult to determine their relative efficacy.
... Prendendo in esame il risultato del gruppo valutato agli 11 mesi, nel quale i benefici della mindfulness sono emersi solo nel lungo periodo, si può notare che non è stato possibile fare una stima di quanto abbiano meditato i soggetti e quindi non è stato possibile verificare quanto i benefici registrati possano essere dipesi dalla quantità di pratica meditativa durante il periodo dello studio: altre ricerche hanno comunque mostrato come quest'ultima variabile possa essere correlata alle acquisizioni delle abilità mindfulness e al benessere psicologico (ad esempio 46,47). ...
Article
The 8-week mindfulness meditation (MM) trainings have proven to be helpful for reducing burnout due to work-related stress. Most studies reported these positive effects with evaluations made immediately before and immediately after the therapeutic interventions. Little is known, however, about the symptoms of burnout in the months following these interventions. In our exploratory study, the effects of an 8-week MM training were assessed in a group of health care professionals (n = 19) with vulnerability to develop burnout; a 9-month follow-up was conducted on the subjects (n=8) who continued to meditate after the end of the training. Other health care professionals of the same company, who did not meditate during this research, served as control group. Burnout, mindfulness abilities and job satisfaction were evaluated through self-reports. Data showed that during the training the levels of burnout did not decrease, but significant reductions were observed during the follow-up. This indicates the possibility of obtaining results with MM even in subjects who do not have standard response time to the therapy and highlights the importance of monitoring the healing process.
... The speed was about 80 cm/s. The mindfulness meditation course was based on the previously studied Mindfulness Oriented Meditation (MOM) method [51][52][53][54][55], an 8 week-training with a 2 -h group meeting per week and 30-minute daily meditation practice at home. The MOM training's structure is similar to a MBSR course (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction), the most common mindfulness meditation program proposed by Kabat-Zinn [56,57]. ...
Article
Introduction Adaptive interoceptive awareness has been revealed to be an important factor for mental health. Touch is one of the modalities through which we perceive bodily feelings. In this pilot study, self touch’s role in enhancing interoceptive awareness was investigated. It was tested by means of a Self Body Brushing (SBB) procedure, which entails self-administered brushing of the entire body. Methods A pre vs. post three-arm design was used, with 49 healthy adult participants. The SBB training was delivered to a first group (N = 13) and a Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) training to a second group (N = 15), considered as a reference intervention for promoting interoceptive awareness; a third group of inactive control participants (N = 14) was also included. Assessment included two self-report questionnaires: the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results In several MAIA scales significant changes were observed: for Noticing, Attention regulation and Body listening, an overall improvement was observed, which was particularly due to changes in the active groups (SBB and MOM); Emotional awareness and Self-regulation scores increased more in the SBB group than in the other two groups. In the PSS measure, the changes in the active groups did not produce a statistically significant effect relative to the control group. Conclusions SBB led to improvements in several aspects of self-reported interoceptive awareness at least as well as mindfulness meditation training. Further studies could investigate the potential effectiveness of SBB for promoting individual psychophysical health and well-being, in particular in the case of body image disturbances.
... The training was inspired by previous MOM interventions for clinical and nonclinical adult and child populations [44,49,[56][57][58], which were in turn based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction protocol [25,47]. The MOM protocol consisted of three sessions per week for eight weeks [49]. ...
Article
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Mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) is a self-regulatory training used for attentional and behavioral problems. With its focus on attention, MOM is a promising form of training that is gaining empirical support as a complementary or alternative intervention for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this study, we tested the preliminary efficacy of MOM training in children with ADHD, by comparing its efficacy with an active control condition (Emotion Education Program, EEP). Twenty-five children with ADHD aged 7-11 years participated in MOM training (n = 15) or EEP (n = 10) 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Neuropsychological and academic measures and behavioral, emotional, and mindfulness ratings were collected before and after the two programs. On average, MOM training had positive effects on neuropsychological measures, as evidenced by a significant mean improvement in all outcome measures after training. Moreover, positive effects on ADHD symptoms were found only in the MOM group. Although they are preliminary, our results documented that MOM training promotes changes in neuropsychological measures and in certain behavioral symptoms, suggesting it as a promising tool for ameliorating cognitive and clinical manifestations of ADHD.
... The MOM program was an eight-week intervention inspired by previous eight-week MOM interventions for clinical and non-clinical adult and children populations Crescentini et al., 2014Crescentini et al., , 2015Crescentini et al., , 2016Fabbro & Muratori, 2012), which were in turn based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction protocol (MBSR; e.g. Kabat-Zinn, 1990, 2003. ...
Article
Objective High incidence of sleep problems in children and adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been described. Mindfulness meditation has emerged as a novel approach to sleep disturbances and insomnia remediation. This preliminary study tested the efficacy of Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) training on sleep quality and behavioral problems in children with ADHD. Design Twenty-five children with ADHD aged 7-11 years underwent two programs three times per week for eight-weeks: the MOM training (15 children) and an Active Control Condition (10 children). Main Outcome Measures Objective and subjective measures of sleep quality and behavioral measures were collected before and after the programs. Results Positive effects on sleep and behavioral measures were found only in the MOM group. Conclusion Although they are preliminary, our results indicate that MOM training is a promising tool for ameliorating sleep quality and behavioral manifestations in ADHD.
... Differently than the MBSR program, the MOM training does not include yoga practices, it does not include movement practices and the mindfulness meditation practice is the same throughout the course: following the Satipatthana discourse attributed to Siddharta Gautama (Thera, 2014), participants are taught how to practice mindfulness of breathing, bodily sensations and mental phenomena in sitting position with eye closed . The positive effects of the MOM training course have been repeatedly studied in the last decade in the general population , Crescentini, Urgesi, Campanella, Eleopra, & Fabbro, 2014, Crescentini, Chittaro, Capurso, Sioni, & Fabbro, 2016, 2020, as well as in clinical settings (Crescentini et al., 2015, also employing neuroimaging techniques Tomasino, Campanella, & Fabbro, 2016). ...
Article
Mindfulness meditation usually takes place as personal, introspective activity. It is not known if this practice activates the brain differently when done alone or with someone else. Sixteen couples of expert meditators performed mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) and instructed mind-wandering (IMW) tasks in two conditions: once sitting in the same room (SR) and once in two different rooms (DR). Spontaneous electroencephalographic (EEG) data was collected during 7-minute recording sessions in the four experimental settings (MOM/SR, MOM/DR, IMW/SR, IMW/DR). Power in band was computed in separate clusters of independent components of the EEG signals. In addition to significant task effects, found in frontolimbic (MOM > IMW in gamma) and frontoparietal locations (MOM < IMW in theta), significant condition effects were found in frontal (SR > DR in delta) and in temporo-occipital regions (SR > DR in theta and alpha). Moreover, a significant interaction between task and condition revealed higher gamma activity in limbic areas during MOM/SR vs. MOM/DR settings. This effect was not attributable to gender, age nor the meditation expertise of participants. We thus show that the brains of two people work differently when they are doing something together or alone; some of these differences are specific to mindfulness meditation. Implications for devotional and clinical settings are discussed.
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In this study, we describe a psychobiological model of the structure and development of personality that accounts for dimensions of both temperament and character. Previous research has confirmed four dimensions of temperament: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence, which are independently heritable, manifest early in life, and involve preconceptual biases in perceptual memory and habit formation. For the first time, we describe three dimensions of character that mature in adulthood and influence personal and social effectiveness by insight learning about self-concepts. Self-concepts vary according to the extent to which a person identifies the self as (1) an autonomous individual, (2) an integral part of humanity, and (3) an integral part of the universe as a whole. Each aspect of self-concept corresponds to one of three character dimensions called self-directedness, cooperativeness, and selftranscendence, respectively. We also describe the conceptual background and development of a self-report measure of these dimensions, the Temperament and Character Inventory. Data on 300 individuals from the general population support the reliability and structure of these seven personality dimensions. We discuss the implications for studies of information processing, inheritance, development, diagnosis, and treatment. (Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50:975-990)
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This study investigated the effect of Buddhist meditation on self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence, representing the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal levels of the self-concept, respectively. On empirical and theoretical grounds, the authors predicted that meditation experience would lead to development in each of these dimensions. Prospective meditators (n = 28) with no experience, beginner meditators (n = 58) with less than 2 years' experience, and advanced meditators (n = 73) with more than 2 years' experience of meditation were compared on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transper-sonal subscales of the Temperament and Character Inventory. The hypothesis was fully sup-ported for all three dimensions of the self-concept, level of development being a positive function of meditation experience. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed. INTRODUCTION Since the Western world became acquainted with Eastern worldviews in the 1960s (Suzuki, 1960), the practice of meditation-the main characteristic of the Buddhist way of life-has been increasingly applied within the clinical sector to supplement conventional psychotherapies (Carrington & Ephron, 1975; Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth, Burney, & Sellers, 1986; Schuster, 1979; Shapiro, 1982). As such, meditation is mainly applied as an eclectic tool for the client's self-regulation and self-exploration (Shapiro, 1992). The highly intellectual, contemporary writer and vigorous advo-cate of the perennial philosophy, Ken Wilber (1983), even claims: "meditation--or a similar and truly contemplative practice-becomes an absolute ethical imperative . . . if we are to contribute to evolution and not merely siphon it off' (p. 321).
Article
Explicit self-representations often conflict with implicit and intuitive self-representations, with such discrepancies being seen as a source of psychological tension. Most of previous research on the psychological effects of mindfulness-meditation has assessed people’s self-attitudes at an explicit level, leaving unknown whether mindfulness-meditation promotes changes on implicit self-representations. Here, we assessed the changes in implicit and explicit self-related religious/spiritual (RS) representations in healthy participants following an 8-week mindfulness-oriented meditation (MOM) program. Before and after meditation, participants were administered implicit (implicit association test) and explicit (self-reported questionnaires) RS measures. Relative to control condition, MOM led to increases of implicit RS in individuals whit low pre-existing implicit RS and to more widespread increases in explicit RS. On the assumption that MOM practice may enhance the clarity of one’s transcendental thoughts and feelings, we argued that MOM allows people to transform their intuitive feelings of implicit RS as well as their explicit RS attitudes.
Article
Purpose: Cognitive impairment is one of the most disabling symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), affecting a large proportion of patients and having a severe impact on their quality of life. Nevertheless, there exists a large variability in the neuropsychological profiles of MS patients and some of them appear to withstand better than others the MS-related brain pathology before showing cognitive decline. In recent years, many studies have made use of concepts such as cognitive reserve and brain reserve to take account of the inter-individual discrepancy between cognitive impairment and MS pathology. Critically, these studies have left open the fundamental issue of the clinical implications of this research for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in MS. Methods and results: We provide an updated and extensive overview of the studies that have explored cognitive and brain reserve in MS and discuss their implications for non-pharmacological therapeutic strategies aimed at potentiating patients' reserve. In particular, the possible utility of integrated approaches based on mind-body techniques such as mindfulness-meditation is considered. Conclusions: We conclude that these techniques represent challenging mental enriching activities that may help cultivating cognitive reserve and more systematic research on their efficacy to protect against cognitive degradation in MS is encouraged.
Article
Previous studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may improve well-being in healthy individuals and be effective in the treatment of mental and neurological disorders. Here, we investigated the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-mediation program on the personality profiles of three groups of healthy individuals with no previous experience with meditation as compared to a control group not enrolled in any training. Personality profiles were obtained through the Temperament and Character Inventory (Cloninger et al., 1993). In the experimental groups, significant increments after the training were obtained in all the three character scales describing the levels of self maturity at the intrapersonal (Self-Directedness), interpersonal (Cooperativeness), and transpersonal (Self-Transcendence) levels. No changes were found in the control group. Strikingly, these effects were significant only in those groups who were engaged in consistent daily meditation practice but not in the group who attended the meditation training but were less consistent in home practice. Since higher scores in the character scales are associated to a lower risk of personality disorder, we propose that the increase of self maturity after the training may be an important mechanism for the effectiveness of mindfulness-oriented meditation in psychotherapeutic contexts.
Article
Background Although dual diagnosis has been a topic of great scientific interest for a long time, few studies have investigated the personality traits that characterise patients suffering from Substance Use Disorders and co-occurring Personality Disorders through a dimensional approach. The present study aimed to evaluate structural personality profiles among dual diagnosis inpatients to identify specific personality impairments associated with dual diagnosis. Methods The present study involved 97 participants divided into three groups: 37 dual diagnosis inpatients, 30 psychiatric outpatients and 30 nonclinical controls. Dimensions of personality functioning were assessed and differences between groups were tested using Kernberg’s dimensional model of personality. Results Results showed that dual diagnosis was associated with the presence of difficulties in three main dimensions of personality functioning. Dual diagnosis inpatients reported a poorly integrated identity with difficulties in the capacity to invest, poorly integrated moral values, and high levels of self-direct and other-direct aggression. Conclusions The present study highlighted that a dimensional approach to the study of dual diagnosis may clarify the personality functioning of patients suffering from this pathological condition. The use of the dimensional approach could help to advance research on dual diagnosis, and it could have important implications on clinical treatment programs for dual diagnosis inpatients.
Article
Religiousness and spirituality (RS) are two ubiquitous aspects of human experience typically considered impervious to scientific investigation. Nevertheless, associations between RS and frontoparietal neural activity have been recently reported. However, much less is known about whether such activity is causally involved in modulating RS or just epiphenomenal to them. Here we combined two-pulse (10Hz) transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with a novel, ad-hoc developed RS-related, Implicit Association Test (IAT) to investigate whether implicit RS representations, although supposedly rather stable, can be rapidly modified by a virtual lesion of inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). A self-esteem (SE) IAT, focused on self-concepts nonrelated to RS representations, was developed as control. A specific increase of RS followed inhibition of IPL demonstrating its causative role in inducing fast plastic changes of religiousness/spirituality. In contrast, DLPFC inhibition had more widespread effects probably reflecting a general role in the acquisition or maintenance of task-rules or in controlling the expression of self-related representations not specific to RS.
Article
Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) personality profile was used to compare alcohol-dependent patients with non-psychiatric control subjects, and a search made for sub-types of alcoholics with different TCI profiles, usin g the criteria age of onset of alcohol-related problems, paternal dependence on alcohol and familial antecedents of alcohol dependence. Alcoho l- dependent patients (n = 38) were characterized by higher Novelty-Seeking (corresponding to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition) group B personality type) and lower Self-Directedness than non-psychiatric control subjects ( n = 47). Lower Self-Directedness indicates a higher probability of personality disorder in the alcohol-dependent population. Only age of onset of alcohol-related problems delineated the two sub-populations with different TCI profiles: early-onset alcoholics (  25 years of age, n = 19), but not late-onset ones ( n = 16), in comparison with control subjects, were associated with higher Novelty-Seeking. Both early and late-onset patients scored lower on Self-Directedness than control subjects. Self-Directedness and Cooperation scores were lower in early-onset than in late-onset patients. These results in part support Cloninger's typology, and the TCI data add to evidence concerning a higher probability of personality disorder in alcohol-dependent patients, particularly those with early-onset.
Article
Self-reports of behaviors and attitudes are strongly influenced by features of the research instrument, including question wording, format, and context. Recent research has addressed the underlying cognitive and communicative processes, which are systematic and increasingly well-understood. The author reviews what has been learned, focusing on issues of question comprehension, behavioral frequency reports, and the emergence of context effect in attitude measurement. The accumulating knowledge about the processes underlying self-reports promises to improve the questionnaire design and data quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Objective: Following in the footsteps of several prior attempts, this review seeks a meaningful and data-based answer to the common question of how people fare, on average, after being treated for alcoholism (broadly defined as alcohol use disorders). Method: Findings from seven large multisite studies were combined to derive estimates of the average effectiveness of alcoholism treatment. To provide common outcome measures, conversion equations were used to compute variables not reported in the original studies. Results: During the year after treatment, 1 in 4 clients remained continuously abstinent on average, and an additional 1 in 10 used alcohol moderately and without problems. During this period, mortality averaged less than 2%. The remaining clients, as a group, showed substantial improvement, abstaining on 3 days out of 4 and reducing their overall alcohol consumption by 87%, on average. Alcohol-related problems also decreased by 60%. Conclusions: About one third of clients remain asymptomatic during the year following a single treatment event. The remaining two thirds show, on average, large and significant decreases in drinking and related problems. This substantial level of improvement in "unremitted" clients tends to be overlooked when outcomes are dichotomized as successful or relapsed.
Article
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly suggested as therapeutic approaches for effecting substance use and misuse (SUM). The aim of this article is to review current evidence on the therapeutic efficacy of MBIs for SUM. A literature search was undertaken using four electronic databases and references of retrieved articles. The search included articles written in English published up to December 2011. Quality of included trials was assessed. In total, 24 studies were included, three of which were based on secondary analyses of previously investigated samples. Current evidence suggests that MBIs can reduce the consumption of several substances including alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, cigarettes, and opiates to a significantly greater extent than waitlist controls, non-specific educational support groups, and some specific control groups. Some preliminary evidence also suggests that MBIs are associated with a reduction in craving as well as increased mindfulness. The limited generalizability of the reviewed findings is noted (i.e., small sample size, lack of methodological details, and the lack of consistently replicated findings). More rigorous and larger randomized controlled studies are warranted.
Article
Instructions for giving the tests, principles of construction, standardization, and qualitative and quantitative evaluation of test responses are included. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Interventions based on training in mindfulness skills are becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness involves intentionally bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, and is often taught through a variety of meditation exercises. This review summarizes conceptual approaches to mind-fulness and empirical research on the utility of mindfulness-based interventions. Meta-analytic techniques were incorporated to facilitate quantification of findings and comparison across studies. Although the current empirical literature includes many methodological flaws, findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may be helpful in the treatment of several disorders. Methodologically sound investigations are recommended in order to clarify the utility of these interventions.
Article
Baer's review (2003; this issue) suggests that mindf ulness-based interventions are clinically efficacious, but that better designed studies are now needed to substantiate the field and place it on a firm foundation for future growth. Her review, coupled with other lines of evidence, suggests that interest in incorporating mindfulness into clinical interventions in medicine and psychology is growing. It is thus important that professionals coming to this field understand some of the unique factors associated with the delivery of mindfulness-based interventions and the potential conceptual and practical pitfalls of not recognizing the features of this broadly unfamiliar landscape. This commentary highlights and contextualizes (1) what exactly mindfulness is, (2) where it came from, (3) how it came to be introduced into medicine and health care, (4) issues of cross-cultural sensitivity and understanding in the study of meditative practices stemming from other cultures and in applications of them in novel settings, (5) why it is important for people who are teaching mind-fulness to practice themselves, (6) results from 3 recent studies from the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society not reviewed by Baer but which raise a number of key questions about clinical applicability, study design, and mechanism of action, and (7) current opportunities for professional training and development in mindfulness and its clinical applications.
Article
This prospective study examines the association of DSM-III-R Axis II comorbidity with (time to) relapse since the end of treatment in a sample of 105 outpatient and 82 inpatient alcoholics. Furthermore, this study addresses the role of motivation for change, time in program, and working alliance in the mechanism underlying the association between Axis II and relapse. We found that Axis II comorbidity in alcoholics is a robust predictor of relapse following treatment, while the effect is strongest in outpatients with low motivation for change and/or short time in program. Motivation for change and time in program did not mediate the association of Axis II with relapse. We also found poor working alliance to be related to personality pathology among inpatients, and from our findings it can be hypothesised that poor working alliance is part of the mechanism underlying the observed impact of Axis II on treatment outcome in outpatients. A preliminary model of the role of personality pathology in the mechanism of relapse is proposed.
Article
Mindfulness is purposefully and nonjudgmentally paying attention to the present moment. The primary purpose of this study is to provide a more precise empirical estimate of the relationship between mindfulness and the Big Five personality traits as well as trait affect. Current research results present inconsistent or highly variable estimates of these relationships. Meta-analysis was used to synthesize findings from 32 samples in 29 studies. Results indicate that, although all of the traits display appreciable relationships with mindfulness, the strongest relationships are found with neuroticism, negative affect, and conscientiousness. Conscientiousness, in particular, is often ignored by mindfulness researchers; results here indicate it deserves stronger consideration. Although the results provide a clearer picture of how mindfulness relates to these traits, they also highlight the need to ensure an appropriate conceptualization and measurement of mindfulness.
Article
Self-reported or explicit self-esteem frequently conflicts with indirectly assessed, implicit self-esteem. The present research investigated whether meditation may reduce such inner conflicts by promoting congruence between implicit and explicit self-esteem. Relative to control conditions, meditation led to greater congruence between explicit self-esteem, assessed via self-report, and implicit self-esteem, indicated by name-letter preference (Studies 1 and 2). Low implicit self-esteem was further associated with a slow-down of explicit self-evaluation (Study 2), an effect that mediated the greater congruence between implicit and explicit self-esteem in the meditation condition. These results suggest that meditation encourages people to rely more on intuitive feelings of self-worth.
Article
: Meditation is a promising treatment for alcohol dependence. This 16-week prospective case series was designed to gather preliminary data about the efficacy of meditation for relapse prevention and to evaluate study methods feasibility. : Nineteen adult alcohol-dependent graduates of an intensive outpatient program were enrolled. Fifteen subjects completed the 8-week meditation course supplemented by at-home meditation and "standard of care" therapy. Outcome measures included surveys and 2 stress-responsive biomarkers. : Subjects (N = 19, 38.4 standard deviation [SD] = 8.6-year-old) were abstinent for 30.9 (SD = 22.2) days at enrollment. Completers (N = 15) attended 82% of meditation course sessions and meditated on average 4.6 (SD = 1.1) days per week; they were abstinent on 94.5% (SD = 7.4) of study days, with 47% reporting complete abstinence and 47% reporting 1 or more heavy drinking days. Their severity of depression, anxiety, stress (P < 0.05), and craving (P < 0.08), documented relapse triggers, decreased, and the degree of mindfulness increased (P < 0.05). The meditation course was rated as a "very important" (8.7/10, SD = 1.8) and "useful relapse prevention tool" (8.5/10, SD = 2.1); participants reported being "very likely" to continue meditating (9.0/10, SD = 1.5). "Gaining skills to reduce stress," "coping with craving," and "good group support" were the most common qualitative comments about the course value. Compared with baseline, at 16 weeks, interleukin-6 levels decreased (N = 12, P = 0.05); cortisol levels (N = 10) were reduced but not significantly. There were no adverse events or side effects. : Meditation may be an effective adjunctive therapy for relapse prevention in alcohol dependence, worthy of investigation in a larger trial. The study methods are appropriate for such a trial.
Article
Failure to maintain abstinence despite incurring severe harm is perhaps the key defining feature of addiction. Relapse prevention strategies have been developed to attenuate this propensity to relapse, but predicting who will, and who will not, relapse has stymied attempts to more efficiently tailor treatments according to relapse risk profile. Here we examine the psychometric properties of a promising relapse risk measure-the Advance WArning of RElapse (AWARE) scale (Miller & Harris, 2000) in an understudied but clinically important sample of young adults. Inpatient youth (N=303; Ages 18-24; 26% female) completed the AWARE scale and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI) at the end of residential treatment, and at 1-, 3-, and 6-months following discharge. Internal and convergent validity was tested for each of these four timepoints using confirmatory factor analysis and correlations (with BSI scores). Predictive validity was tested for relapse 1, 3, and 6 months following discharge, as was incremental utility, where AWARE scores were used as predictors of any substance use while controlling for treatment entry substance use severity and having spent time in a controlled environment following treatment. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed a single, internally consistent, 25-item factor that demonstrated convergent validity and predicted subsequent relapse alone and when controlling for other important relapse risk predictors. The AWARE scale may be a useful and efficient clinical tool for assessing short-term relapse risk among young people and, thus, could serve to enhance the effectiveness of relapse prevention efforts.
Article
The predisposition of human beings toward spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors is measured by a supposedly stable personality trait called self-transcendence. Although a few neuroimaging studies suggest that neural activation of a large fronto-parieto-temporal network may underpin a variety of spiritual experiences, information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking. Combining pre- and post-neurosurgery personality assessment with advanced brain-lesion mapping techniques, we found that selective damage to left and right inferior posterior parietal regions induced a specific increase of self-transcendence. Therefore, modifications of neural activity in temporoparietal areas may induce unusually fast modulations of a stable personality trait related to transcendental self-referential awareness. These results hint at the active, crucial role of left and right parietal systems in determining self-transcendence and cast new light on the neurobiological bases of altered spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors in neurological and mental disorders.
Article
Mindfulness meditation (MM) practices constitute an important group of meditative practices that have received growing attention. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the neurobiological changes and clinical benefits related to MM practice in psychiatric disorders, in physical illnesses and in healthy subjects. A literature search was undertaken using Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane collaboration database and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to November 2008 were included. Electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have revealed a significant increase in alpha and theta activity during meditation. Neuroimaging studies showed that MM practice activates the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and that long-term meditation practice is associated with an enhancement of cerebral areas related to attention. From a clinical viewpoint, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has shown efficacy for many psychiatric and physical conditions and also for healthy subjects, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is mainly efficacious in reducing relapses of depression in patients with three or more episodes, Zen meditation significantly reduces blood pressure and Vipassana meditation shows efficacy in reducing alcohol and substance abuse in prisoners. However, given the low-quality designs of current studies it is difficult to establish whether clinical outcomes are due to specific or non-specific effects of MM. Despite encouraging findings, several limitations affect current studies. Suggestions are given for future research based on better designed methodology and for future directions of investigation.
Article
This article discusses a multi-faceted treatment paradigm used to service professionals with addictive disorders. Individualized treatment plans are developed based on a multitude of factors including administration of the TCI-R (Temperament Character Inventory), MCMI-III (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory) and the WASI (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence). Treatment goals include specific therapeutic interventions and patient and therapist-directed tasks related to enhanced development of the character dimensions of Self-Directedness, Cooperativeness and Self-Transcendence, as measured on Cloninger's TCI-R inventory.
Article
This study evaluates the relationship of personality to mood and anxiety states in a sample of 50 psychiatric out patients. In order to overcome arbitrariness inherent in categorical diagnoses of affective, personality and anxiety disorders, we use a dimensional approach to personality, mood and anxiety. According to our results, mood and anxiety states affect personality domains differentially. Namely, relatively large portions of personality and behavior, such as higher-order traits of novelty seeking and reward dependence, seem independent from mood and anxiety states. In contrast, the higher-order dimension of harm avoidance and its corresponding lower-order traits reflect changes in mood and anxiety to a much greater extent. Both the likelihood that large portions of personality may be independent from current mood and the likelihood that some precisely delineated personality domains tend to change simultaneously with current mood may improve our understanding of the relationship of personality to emotionality and affective disorders.
Article
In this article we analyze the relationship between personality traits assessed by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, and six mood states assessed by the Profile of Mood States-bipolar form. Our data suggest that large portions of personality and/or behavior, e.g., higher order dimensions of Novelty Seeking and Reward Dependence, can be relatively independent from current mood. In contrast, the Harm Avoidance dimension covaries with mood and anxiety. Also, we analyze the psychometric properties of the Profile of Mood States-bipolar form, and discuss some practical aspects of our findings.