J Mark G Williams's research while affiliated with University of Oxford and other places

Publications (173)

Article
Full-text available
Objectives The effectiveness of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) has been established in many randomized controlled trials. However, effect sizes are often modest, and there remains ample scope to improve their effectiveness. One approach to this challenge is to offer a “follow-on” course to people who have completed an MBP and are interested in f...
Article
Full-text available
Background Systematic reviews suggest school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) shows promise in promoting student mental health. Objective The My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) Trial evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of SBMT compared with teaching-as-usual (TAU). Methods MYRIAD was a parallel group, cluster-randomised control...
Article
Full-text available
Background Previous research suggests that mindfulness training (MT) appears effective at improving mental health in young people. MT is proposed to work through improving executive control in affectively laden contexts. However, it is unclear whether MT improves such control in young people. MT appears to mitigate mental health difficulties during...
Article
Full-text available
Background Preventing mental health problems in early adolescence is a priority. School-based mindfulness training (SBMT) is an approach with mixed evidence. Objectives To explore for whom SBMT does/does not work and what influences outcomes. Methods The My Resilience in Adolescence was a parallel-group, cluster randomised controlled trial (K=84...
Article
Full-text available
Background Education is broader than academic teaching. It includes teaching students social–emotional skills both directly and indirectly through a positive school climate. Objective To evaluate if a universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) enhances teacher mental health and school climate. Methods The My Resilience in Adolescence para...
Preprint
Purpose: We explored what predicts secondary school students’ mindfulness practice and responsiveness to universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT).Methods: Participants were 4,232 students (aged 11-13) in 43 UK secondary schools, who received universal SBMT (i.e., “.b” program), within the MYRIAD trial (ISRCTN86619085). Theory-driven stude...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mindfulness training programmes have shown to encourage prosocial behaviours and reduce antisocial tendencies in adolescents. However, less is known about whether training affects susceptibility to prosocial and antisocial influence. The current study investigated the effect of mindfulness training (compared with an active control) on self-reported...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Decentering describes the ability to voluntarily adopt an objective self-perspective from which to notice internal, typically distressing, stressors (eg, difficult thoughts, memories and feelings). The reinforcement of this skill may be an active ingredient through which different psychological interventions accrue reductions in anxiet...
Preprint
Introduction. Decentering describes the ability to voluntarily adopt an objective self-perspective from which to notice internal, typically distressing, stressors (e.g. difficult thoughts, memories, and feelings). The reinforcement of this skill may be an active ingredient through which different psychological interventions accrue reductions in anx...
Article
Full-text available
Mindfulness training (MT) is considered appropriate for school teachers and enhances well-being. Most research has investigated the efficacy of instructor-led MT. However, little is known about the benefits of using self-taught formats, nor what the key mechanisms of change are that contribute to enhanced teacher well-being. This study compared ins...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives We evaluated the effects of the family mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) “MYmind” for children with ADHD and their parents, and examined child and parent predictors of child outcome. Methods Using a pragmatic quasi-experimental waitlist design, children aged 7–19 years (n = 167), clinically referred with a DSM-IV ADHD diagnosis, and...
Article
Full-text available
Background MYRIAD (My Resilience in Adolescence) is a superiority, parallel group, cluster randomised controlled trial designed to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme, compared with normal social and emotional learning (SEL) school provision to enhance mental health, social-emotional-behavioural...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Recent studies suggest deteriorating youth mental health. The current UK policy emphasises the role of schools for mental health promotion and prevention, but little data exist on what aspects of schools explain pupils’ mental health. We explored school-level influences on the mental health of young people in a large school-based sample f...
Article
Full-text available
Background There is growing research support for the use of mindfulness training (MT) in schools, but almost no high-quality evidence about different training models for people wishing to teach mindfulness in this setting. Effective dissemination of MT relies on the development of scalable training routes. Objective To compare 4 training routes fo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for young people. The primary aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme to enhance mental health, wel...
Chapter
This chapter explores the hypothesis that the way people react to distressing stimuli, including the presence of suicidal ideation, is critical in determining whether these problems become “adhesive”, perpetuating a sense of entrapment. In particular, it suggests that the greatest difficulties arise when the presence of distressing situations, thou...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
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 w...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggesting that over-general memory (OGM) may moderate the effect of life events on depressive symptoms and suicidality has sampled older adolescents or adults, or younger adolescents in high-risk populations, and has been conducted over relatively short follow-up periods. The authors examined the relationship between OGM at age 1...
Article
Full-text available
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 a...
Article
‘Cyberchondria’ describes the phenomenon of searching for health information online exacerbating health anxiety. This study explores health anxious individuals’ experiences of searching for health information online to further understand ‘cyberchondria’. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore participants’ (N = 8) experiences of searching...
Article
Full-text available
Although there is robust evidence linking the absence of positive future thinking (PFT) to suicide risk, we know little about the factors associated with PFT or the characteristics of those who may be more vulnerable to such deficits when mood is low. In the present experimental studies, we investigated whether PFT would decrease following minor fl...
Article
Our objective was to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of a group mindfulness program aimed at reducing and preventing depression in an adolescent school-based population. For each of 12 pairs of parallel classes with students (age range 13–20) from five schools (N = 408), one class was randomly assigned to the mindfulne...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Although there is clear evidence that low levels of positive future thinking (anticipation of positive experiences in the future) and hopelessness are associated with suicide risk, the relationship between the content of positive future thinking and suicidal behavior has yet to be investigated. This is the first study to determine wheth...
Article
Full-text available
Few empirical studies have explored the associations between formal and informal mindfulness home practice and outcome in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). In this study ninety-nine participants randomised to MBCT in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial completed self-reported ratings of home practice over 7 treatment weeks. Recurre...
Article
Full-text available
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 recur...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be a useful alternative approach to the treatment of health anxiety and deserves further investigation. In this paper, we outline the rationale for using MBCT in the treatment of this condition, namely its hypothesised impact on the underlying mechanisms which maintain...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are widely accepted as being the most efficient way of investigating the efficacy of psychological therapies. However, researchers conducting RCTs commonly report difficulties in recruiting an adequate sample within planned timescales. In an effort to overcome recruitment difficulties, researchers of...
Article
Full-text available
Overgeneral autobiographical memory has repeatedly been identified as a risk factor for adolescent and adult psychopathology but the factors that cause such over-generality remain unclear. This study examined the association between childhood exposure to traumatic events and early adolescent overgeneral autobiographical memory in a large population...
Article
Full-text available
The size of a person's signature may reveal implicit information about how the self is perceived although this has not been closely examined. We conducted three experiments to test whether increases in signature size can be induced. Specifically, the aim of these experiments was to test whether changes in signature size reflect a person's current i...
Article
Recurrent distressing intrusive images are a common experience in hypochondriasis. The aim of the current study was to assess the impact of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for hypochondriasis on the occurrence and nature of distressing intrusive imagery in hypochondriasis. A semistructured interview was used to assess intrusive imagery,...
Article
Full-text available
Depressed individuals have difficulty remembering specific autobiographical events. These deficits often persist after recovery of mood symptoms, but the mechanisms underlying impaired memory specificity in recovered depressed individuals remain unclear. Here, we sought to examine whether performance on two cognitive measures might be related to de...
Article
Full-text available
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. Method: A randomized controlled trial in which 274 participants were all...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the adherence of mental health professionals to a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programme as well as the impact of MBCT on mindful awareness and attention, psychological well-being and distress, state and trait anxiety, worry and satisfaction with life. The design comprised of a prospective uncontrolled intervention stu...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has suggested that some individuals may obtain comfort from their suicidal cognitions. This study explored clinical variables associated with comfort from suicidal cognition using a newly developed 5 item measure in 217 patients with a history of recurrent depression and suicidality, of whom 98 were followed up to at least one rel...
Article
Full-text available
Face-to-face mindfulness interventions have been shown to significantly decrease perceived stress, anxiety and depression and research is beginning to show similar benefits for such courses delivered via the internet. We investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of an online mindfulness course for perceived stress, anxiety and depression. A fo...
Article
This article reports a randomized controlled trial to investigate whether mindfulness training can successfully improve inner peace in participants with no known mental disorder. Fifty-seven participants were randomized to either mindfulness training (n = 29) or wait-list control (n = 28). The experience sampling method was used to measure the flee...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Although suicidal behavior is a major public health concern, understanding of individually sensitive suicide risk mechanisms is limited. In this study, the authors investigated, for the first time, the utility of defeat and entrapment in predicting repeat suicidal behavior in a sample of suicide attempters. Method: Seventy patients ho...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The assessment of intervention integrity is essential in psychotherapeutic intervention outcome research and psychotherapist training. There has been little attention given to it in mindfulness-based interventions research, training programs, and practice. Aims: To address this, the Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Teaching Assessmen...
Article
Functional avoidance is considered as one of the key mechanisms underlying overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM). According to this view OGM is regarded as a learned cognitive avoidance strategy, based on principles of operant conditioning; i.e., individuals learn to avoid the emotionally painful consequences associated with the retrieval of sp...
Article
Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) refers to the tendency to retrieve less specific personal memories. According to the functional avoidance hypothesis, OGM might act as a cognitive strategy to avoid emotionally distressing details of negative memories. In the present study, we investigated the effect of an experimentally induced avoidant st...
Article
According to the functional avoidance hypothesis, overgeneral autobiographical memory, the tendency to retrieve personal memories in a less specific format, might serve an affect-regulating function. Reducing the specificity of memories of negative events may prevent individuals from re-experiencing the associated painful emotions. This cognitive a...
Article
Full-text available
Antidepressants affect memory and neural responses to emotionally valenced stimuli in healthy volunteers. However, it is unclear whether this extends to autobiographical memory for personally experienced events. The current study investigated the effects of acute administration of the antidepressant reboxetine on emotional autobiographical retrieva...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The efficacy and acceptability of existing psychological interventions for health anxiety (hypochondriasis) are limited. In the current study, the authors aimed to assess the impact of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on health anxiety by comparing the impact of MBCT in addition to usual services (unrestricted services) with u...
Article
Full-text available
Stress has been shown to have a number of negative effects on health over time. Mindfulness interventions have been shown to decrease perceived stress but access to interventions is limited. Therefore, the effectiveness of an online mindfulness course for perceived stress was investigated. A preliminary evaluation of an online mindfulness course. T...
Article
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed as a psychological approach for people at risk for depressive relapse who wish to learn how to stay well in the long-term. In this article we set out the rationale for MBCT, outline the treatment approach, overview the efficacy research to date and look to future challenges.
Article
Full-text available
There has been a groundswell of interest in the UK in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and its derivatives, particularly Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Many health, education and social work practitioners have sought ways to develop their competencies as mindfulness-based teachers, and increasing numbers of organisations are d...
Article
Full-text available
Although the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) is widely used its psychometric properties have rarely been investigated. This paper utilises data gathered from a 10-item written version of the AMT, completed by 5792 adolescents participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, to examine the psychometric properties of the measu...
Article
Full-text available
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-psycho...
Article
According to the affect-regulation hypothesis (Williams et al., 2007), reduced autobiographical memory specificity (rAMS) or overgeneral memory (OGM) might be considered a cognitive avoidance strategy; that is, people learn to avoid the emotionally painful consequences associated with the retrieval of specific negative memories. Based on this hypot...
Article
This study examined the relationship between health anxiety and searching for health information online, a phenomenon dubbed 'cyberchondria'. The majority of those with 'high' (n=46) and 'low' (n=36) levels of health anxiety reported seeking health information online. However, those with higher levels of health anxiety sought online health informat...
Article
Objective. Severe health anxiety (hypochondriasis) is a common and disabling condition for which existing psychological treatments have limited effects (Thomson & Page, 2007). Hence, it is a priority to examine both the efficacy and acceptability of new psychological treatments for health anxiety. The aim of this study was to explore the experience...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests distinct modes of self-focus, each with distinct functional properties: Analytical self-focus appears maladaptive, with experiential self-focus having more adaptive effects on indices of cognitive-affective functioning (e.g., Watkins, Moberly, & Moulds, 2008). The authors applied this framework to eating disorder (ED) psy...
Chapter
IntroductionBackground Study 1Study 2Study 3Reducing Dependence on the ‘Doing’ Mode of MindThe Effects of Mindfulness on the Triggers for the ‘Doing’ ModeConclusions References
Article
The guest editors introduce this special issue on Mindfulness, explaining its rationale, aims, and intentions. Integrating mindfulness-based approaches into medicine, psychology, neuroscience, healthcare, education, business leadership, and other major societal institutions has become a burgeoning field. The very rapidity of such growth of interest...
Article
Conditional goal setting (CGS, the tendency to regard high order goals such as happiness, as conditional upon the achievement of lower order goals) is observed in individuals with depression and recent research has suggested a link between levels of dispositional mindfulness and conditional goal setting in depressed patients. Since interventions wh...
Article
Full-text available
Using a cross-sectional design, we examined the relationship between naturally occurring levels of mindfulness and rumination in students (n = 164). As predicted, we found that, when controlling for current depressive symptoms and prior history of depression, mindfulness was significantly negatively correlated with rumination, but it was only assoc...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of research in eating disorders (ED) has investigated the content of disorder-specific thoughts, while few studies have addressed underlying cognitive-affective processes. A better understanding of processes underpinning ED may have important implications for treatment development. Two studies were conducted that investigated levels of...
Article
Full-text available
Several randomised controlled trials suggest that mindfulness-based approaches are helpful in preventing depressive relapse and recurrence, and the UK Government's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended these interventions for use in the National Health Service. There are good grounds to suggest that mindfulness-based...
Article
Full-text available
Suppression of negative thoughts has been observed under experimental conditions among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) but has never been examined among patients with bipolar disorder (BD). Patients with BD (n = 36), patients with MDD (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 20) completed a task that required unscrambling 6-word strings in...
Data
Measures used at each trial assessment. This file includes a table outlining the measures completed by participants at each trial assessment.
Article
We report data from a randomised controlled trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to pilot procedures for people with a history of suicidal ideation or behaviour, focusing in particular on the variables that distinguish those who complete an adequate 'dose' of treatment, from those who drop out. Sixty-eight participants were randomised to ei...
Article
Full-text available
Depression is often a chronic relapsing condition, with relapse rates of 50-80% in those who have been depressed before. This is particularly problematic for those who become suicidal when depressed since habitual recurrence of suicidal thoughts increases likelihood of further acute suicidal episodes. Therefore the question how to prevent relapse i...
Article
The author reviews the articles in the Special Section on Mindfulness, starting from the assumption that emotions evolved as signaling systems that need to be sensitive to environmental contingencies. Failure to switch off emotion is due to the activation of mental representations of present, past, and future that are created independently of exter...