[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased tendencies towards ruminative responses to negative mood and anxious worry are important vulnerability factors for relapse to depression. In this study, we investigated the trajectories of change in rumination and anxious worry over the course of an eight-week programme of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for relapse prevention in patients with a history of recurrent depression. One hundred and four participants from the MBCT-arm of a randomized-controlled trial provided weekly ratings. Mixed linear models indicated that changes in rumination and worry over the course of the programme followed a general linear trend, with considerable variation around this trend as indicated by significant increases in model fit following inclusion of random slopes. Exploration of individual trajectories showed that, despite considerable fluctuation, there is little evidence to suggest that sudden gains are a common occurrence. The findings are in line with the general notion that, in MBCT, reductions in vulnerability are driven mainly through regular and consistent practice, and that sudden cognitive insights alone are unlikely to lead into lasting effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with a history of suicidal depression, recurrence of depressive symptoms can easily reactivate suicidal thinking. In this study, we investigated whether training in mindfulness, which is aimed at helping patients "decenter" from negative thinking, could help weaken the link between depressive symptoms and suicidal cognitions.
Analyses were based on data from a recent randomized controlled trial, in which previously suicidal patients were allocated to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), an active control treatment, cognitive psychoeducation (CPE), which did not include any meditation practice, or treatment as usual (TAU). After the end of the treatment phase, we compared the associations between depressive symptoms, as assessed through self-reports on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996), and suicidal thinking, as assessed through the Suicidal Cognitions Scale (Rudd et al., 2001).
In patients with minimal to moderate symptoms at the time of assessment, comparisons of the correlations between depressive symptoms and suicidal cognitions showed significant differences between the groups. Although suicidal cognitions were significantly related to levels of symptoms in the 2 control groups, there was no such relation in the MBCT group.
The findings suggest that, in patients with a history of suicidal depression, training in mindfulness can help to weaken the association between depressive symptoms and suicidal thinking, and thus reduce an important vulnerability for relapse to suicidal depression. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In previously depressed individuals, reflective thinking may easily get derailed and lead to detrimental effects. This study investigated the conditions in which such thinking is, or is not, adaptive. Levels of mindfulness and autobiographical memory specificity were assessed as potential moderators of the relationship between reflective thinking and depressive symptoms. Two hundred seventy-four individuals with a history of three or more previous episodes of depression completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms, rumination-including subscales for reflection and brooding-and mindfulness, as well as an autobiographical memory task to assess memory specificity. In those low in both mindfulness and memory specificity, higher levels of reflection were related to more depressive symptoms, whereas in all other groups higher levels of reflection were related to fewer depressive symptoms. The results demonstrate that the relation between reflective pondering and depressive symptoms varies depending on individual state or trait factors. In previously depressed individuals, the cognitive problem-solving aspect of reflection may be easily hampered when tendencies toward unspecific processing are increased, and awareness of mental processes such as self-judgment and reactivity is decreased. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Abnormal Psychology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mindfulness has been suggested to be an important protective factor for emotional health. However, this effect might vary with regard to context. This study applied a novel statistical approach, quantile regression, in order to investigate the relation between trait mindfulness and residual depressive symptoms in individuals with a history of recurrent depression, while taking into account symptom severity and number of episodes as contextual factors. Rather than fitting to a single indicator of central tendency, quantile regression allows exploration of relations across the entire range of the response variable. Analysis of self-report data from 274 participants with a history of three or more previous episodes of depression showed that relatively higher levels of mindfulness were associated with relatively lower levels of residual depressive symptoms. This relationship was most pronounced near the upper end of the response distribution and moderated by the number of previous episodes of depression at the higher quantiles. The findings suggest that with lower levels of mindfulness, residual symptoms are less constrained and more likely to be influenced by other factors. Further, the limiting effect of mindfulness on residual symptoms is most salient in those with higher numbers of episodes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
We compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with both cognitive psychological education (CPE) and treatment as usual (TAU) in preventing relapse to major depressive disorder (MDD) in people currently in remission following at least 3 previous episodes.
A randomized controlled trial in which 274 participants were allocated in the ratio 2:2:1 to MBCT plus TAU, CPE plus TAU, and TAU alone, and data were analyzed for the 255 (93%; MBCT = 99, CPE = 103, TAU = 53) retained to follow-up. MBCT was delivered in accordance with its published manual, modified to address suicidal cognitions; CPE was modeled on MBCT, but without training in meditation. Both treatments were delivered through 8 weekly classes.
Allocated treatment had no significant effect on risk of relapse to MDD over 12 months follow-up, hazard ratio for MBCT vs. CPE = 0.88, 95% CI [0.58, 1.35]; for MBCT vs. TAU = 0.69, 95% CI [0.42, 1.12]. However, severity of childhood trauma affected relapse, hazard ratio for increase of 1 standard deviation = 1.26 (95% CI [1.05, 1.50]), and significantly interacted with allocated treatment. Among participants above median severity, the hazard ratio was 0.61, 95% CI [0.34, 1.09], for MBCT vs. CPE, and 0.43, 95% CI [0.22, 0.87], for MBCT vs. TAU. For those below median severity, there were no such differences between treatment groups.
MBCT provided significant protection against relapse for participants with increased vulnerability due to history of childhood trauma, but showed no significant advantage in comparison to an active control treatment and usual care over the whole group of patients with recurrent depression.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research has suggested fundamental differences between patients with persistent and those with remitting courses of depression. This study investigated whether patients with different lifetime symptom course configurations differ in early risk and cognitive vulnerability factors.
Patients with at least three previous episodes who were currently in remission were categorized based on visual timelines of their lifetime symptom course and compared with regard to a number of different indicators of vulnerability including questionnaire measures of childhood trauma and experiential avoidance.
Of the N=127 patients, n=47 showed a persistent course of the disorder with unstable remissions and symptoms most of the time, and n=59 showed a course with more stable, lasting remissions. Group comparisons indicated that patients with a more persistent course were significantly more likely to have suffered from childhood emotional abuse, and reported higher levels of experiential avoidance as well as related core beliefs. Experiential avoidance partially mediated the effect of childhood emotional abuse on persistence of symptoms.
The study is cross-sectional and does not allow conclusions with regard to whether differentiating variables are causally related to chronicity. Self-report measures may be subject to reporting biases.
The results highlight the detrimental effects of childhood adversity and suggest that experiential avoidance may play an important role in mediating such effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report assesses the association between age of onset of major depression and later suicidality in a sample of 276 recurrently depressed patients recruited for the Oxford/Bangor Staying Well after Depression (SWAD) Trial, and interviewed when in remission.
The study enrolled adult patients with a history of at least three episodes of non-psychotic major depressive disorder from primary care and psychiatric care practices and through community advertisements. At study entry, all participants estimated the age of their first onset of a major depressive episode and completed both self-report and interview-based assessments of past and current suicidal ideation and behavior. Participants were divided into pre-adult and adult onset groups using a cut-off age of 18.
Forty-eight percent of the sample reported a pre-adult age of onset. Pre-adult age of onset was significantly associated with suicidality, both from self-report and from interviewer assessment even when adjusting for differences in age, gender, employment status, length of the disorder and early adversity.
Relevant variables were all assessed through retrospective reports.
Pre-adult age of onset is closely associated with risk for and severity of later suicidality, replicating, in a sample of patients assessed when in remission, findings from studies that assessed patients when currently depressed. The association of pre-adult age of onset with suicidality is not due to differences in sociodemographic variables, length of the disorder and early adversity.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of Affective Disorders