Willoughby B. Britton's research while affiliated with Brown University and other places

Publications (32)

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Cognitive theories of depression, and mindfulness theories of well-being, converge on the notion that self-judgment plays a critical role in mental health. However, these theories have rarely been tested via tasks and computational modeling analyses that can disentangle the information processes operative in self-judgments. We applied a drift-diffu...
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Mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) are increasingly utilized to improve mental health. Interest in the putative effects of MBPs on cognitive function is also growing. This is the first meta-analysis of objective cognitive outcomes across multiple domains from randomized MBP studies of adults. Seven databases were systematically searched to January 2...
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The current study investigated purported mechanisms by which mindfulness-based programs (MBP) improve depression symptoms, specifically, whether mindfulness-related changes in the processing of self-referential and/or emotionally valenced information are associated with improvements in depression symptoms. Four domains of the Self-Reference Task (S...
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Commonly conducted mindfulness-based trainings such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) highlight training in two key forms of meditation: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM). Largely unknown is what each of these mindfulness practices contributes to emotional and other important t...
Article
There are numerous historical and textual references to energy-like somatic experiences (ELSEs) from religious traditions, and even a few psychological studies that have documented related phenomena. However, ELSEs remain an understudied effect of meditation in contemporary research. Based upon narratives from a large qualitative sample of Buddhist...
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Self-related processes (SRPs) have been theorized as key mechanisms of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), but the evidence supporting these theories is currently unclear. This evidence map introduces a comprehensive framework for different types of SRPs, and how they are theorized to function as mechanisms of MBIs (target identification). The...
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Objectives As mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) become widespread, MBP research samples should be representative of the general public to avoid exclusion of minoritized groups. This systematic review retrospectively investigates demographic diversity in MBP research, based on reported variables and patterns of omission during that time.Methods We r...
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Objective: Out-of-class mindfulness meditation practice is a health behavior that is considered to be a crucial ingredient in mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), yet participant adherence to practice recommendations is often inconsistent. Further, MBIs may enhance factors that lead to greater adherence to medical regimens (MRA) in other contex...
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Objective Meditation practice and meditation-based psychotherapies have become increasingly popular. Although psychological benefits associated with meditation are well-documented, potential risks are unclear. Method We conducted a population-based survey to evaluate the occurrence of a broad range of meditation-related adverse effects (MRAE). Re...
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Background: Research on the adverse effects of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) has been sparse and hindered by methodological imprecision. Methods: The 44-item Meditation Experiences Interview (MedEx-I) was used by an independent assessor to measure meditation-related side effects (MRSE) following three variants of an 8-week program of mindful...
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Objectives Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been widely implemented to improve self-regulation behaviors, often by targeting emotion-related constructs to facilitate change. Yet the degree to which MBIs engage specific measures of emotion-related constructs has not been systematically examined. Methods Using advanced meta-analytic techn...
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While Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have been shown to be effective for a range of patient populations and outcomes, a question remains as to the role of common therapeutic factors, as opposed to the specific effects of mindfulness practice, in contributing to patient improvements. This project used a mixed-method design to investigate the...
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Objective Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) includes a combination of focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation practices. The aim of this study was to assess both short- and long-term between- and within-group differences in affective disturbance among FA, OM and their combination (MBCT) in the context of a randomized con...
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Studies in the psychology and phenomenology of religious experience have long acknowledged similarities with various forms of psychopathology. Consequently, it has been important for religious practitioners and mental health professionals to establish criteria by which religious, spiritual, or mystical experiences can be differentiated from psychop...
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Background Emotional dysregulation is a core mechanism of mood disorders. Meditation-based interventions can ameliorate a wide range of psychological problems. However, in order to develop structured treatment and preventative protocols for emotional disorders, it is crucial to understand how different types of specific meditation practices improve...
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Background and objectives: Impacts of mindfulness-based programs on blood pressure remain equivocal, possibly because the programs are not adapted to engage with determinants of hypertension, or due to floor effects. Primary objectives were to create a customized Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP) program, and to evaluate acceptabi...
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Previous research has found that very few, if any, psychological or physiological processes are universally beneficial. Instead, positive phenomena tend to follow a non-monotonic or inverted U-shaped trajectory where their typically positive effects eventually turn negative. This review investigates mindfulness-related processes for signs of non-mo...
Chapter
Challenging meditation experiences have been documented in Buddhist literature, in psychological research, and in a recent qualitative study by the authors. Some of the central questions in the investigation of this topic are: How are meditation-related challenges to be interpreted or appraised? Through which processes are experiences determined to...
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Mindfulness training has been used to improve emotional wellbeing in early adolescents. However, little is known about treatment outcome moderators, or individual differences that may differentially impact responses to treatment. The current study focused on gender as a potential moderator for affective outcomes in response to school-based mindfuln...
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During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and “key to building more resilient soldiers.” Yet the mindfulness movement and empirical evidence supporting...
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In response to our article, Davidson and Dahl offer commentary and advice regarding additional topics crucial to a comprehensive prescriptive agenda for future research on mindfulness and meditation. Their commentary raises further challenges and provides an important complement to our article. More consideration of these issues is especially welco...
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Background: While mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) employ two distinct practices, focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM), the integrated delivery of these practices in MBIs precludes understanding of their practice-specific effects or mechanisms of action. The purpose of this study is to isolate hypothesized active ingredients and p...
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Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience stud...
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Objectives: While recent literature has shown that mindfulness training has positive effects on treating anxiety and depression, there has been virtually no research investigating whether effects differ across genders—despite the fact that men and women differ in clinically significant ways. The current study investigated whether college-based medi...
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Objective: Chronic pain is a disabling illness, often comorbid with depression. We performed a randomized controlled pilot study on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) targeting depression in a chronic pain population. Method: Participants with chronic pain lasting ≥ 3 months; DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymic disorder, or...
Chapter
Scientific literacy is a foundational competency for MBI teachers that empowers them to draw from the existing scientific research to enhance their pedagogy and serves as a foundation for all aspects of evidence-based practice. Most importantly, scientific literacy of MBI teachers maintains the credibility and public trust in MBIs. This chapter inc...

Citations

... Plaque psoriasis occurs via IL-17 pathways, wherein IL-23 promotes Th17 cell differentiation, resulting in IL-17 and IL-22 release and leading to skin inflammation, hyperproliferation, and keratinization [1]. Meditation and mindfulness represent nonpharmacological methods for managing stress [2]. Meditation and mindfulness are commonly used psychological interventions to manage a wide array of diseases not limited to the fields of psychiatry and psychology. ...
... Our analyses involved computational modeling of choices and reaction times from the SRET task. A previous study separately reported on recall data, which is not analyzed here, from the SRET in this sample (Alejandre-Lara et al., 2022); electroencephalography was also recorded while participants completed the SRET and will be reported separately. ...
... Taken together, this suggests that doing mindfulness meditation may help individuals to receive more negative feedback with less avoidance and greater equanimity (Juneau et al., 2020), helping them to function more adaptively in various domains of life, including school and work. The study also investigates how mindfulness meditation impacts core aspects of the self (e.g., Britton et al., 2021;Vago & Silbersweig, 2012), and through this, suggests a psychological process that may help meditators function more adaptively in performance-oriented environments like school and the workplace (e.g., Lyddy & Good, 2017). Mindfulness has long been viewed as involving a decentered sense of self, but this has not been directly connected to negative feedback and state self-esteem. ...
... In a review of 69 randomized controlled trials of MBIs, 79% of participants in 56 articles identified as White (Waldron et al., 2018). Another review of 94 trials of MBSR or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy found that 89% of the total participant population (n = 4030 total) were White (Eichel et al., 2021). Thus, disparities in mindfulness practice might be rooted in underrepresentation of racial/ethnic minorities in basic mindfulness research. ...
... Empirical evidence suggests meditation has modest benefits for common mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, in both clinical (Baer, 2003;Goyal et al., 2014;Strauss et al., 2014;Teasdale et al., 2000) and non-clinical populations (Galante et al., 2021;Khoury et al., 2015), as well as some domains of cognitive function (Lao et al., 2016;Whitfield et al., 2022). These benefits are observed most robustly in MBPs, which have been widely used and researched (Dimidjian & Segal, 2015). ...
... Prior research has found data collection from the Prolific platform to be more heterogenous, more research naïve, and more honest relative to other platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (Palan & Schitter, 2018;Peer et al., 2017). This study is part of a larger research effort to understand meditation practices in the U.S.A., and initial findings have been published elsewhere (Goldberg et al., 2022). A sample of 993 participants underwent initial screening for lifetime meditation practice, Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. ...
... This might include cultural adaptation which has been shown to improve psychotherapy outcomes generally (Benish et al., 2011) but is lacking from the MBI literature (Sun et al., 2021). Other potentially modifiable factors worthy of further study that might make MBIs less acceptable than controls are adverse effects associated with meditation practice itself (Britton et al., 2021;Goldberg et al., 2021b), difficulty understanding and engaging with mindfulness practices (Martinez et al., 2015;Pigeon et al., 2015), and a lack of trauma sensitivity (Treleaven, 2018). Perhaps the most promising future direction for identifying predictors of attrition is individual patient data meta-analysis (e.g., Kuyken et al., 2016). ...
... Against active controls, effect sizes reduced to d = − 0.16 for anxiety, d = − 0.20 for depression, and d = − 0.33 for stress (Strohmaier, 2020). Such effects relate to the overall program content, which includes several curriculum elements (training and practice of mindfulness meditation, teacher-led instruction sessions, group discussions, daylong retreat), all of which likely contributing to the programs' beneficial outcomes (Canby et al., 2021). ...
... negative) self-judgment drift rate, at baseline and as these symptoms changed over time; and (3) compare the split-half and test-retest correlations of behavioral and model-derived measures. To fulfill these aims, we conducted a secondary analysis of an intervention dataset from a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) dismantling study ((Britton et al., 2018;Cullen et al., 2021); clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01831362). ...
... Vago and Silbersweig put forth the Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Self-Transcendence (S-ART) theoretical model to represent the three main mechanisms by which contemplative practices can enhance resilience [13]. Extensive evidence derived from decades of behavioral and neuroscientific findings on contemplative practices has established that they strengthen self-awareness and mindfulness, as well as self-regulation and distress tolerance [14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]. Additional research indicates that mindfulness may engage emotion-regulation processes that improve healthy lifestyle behaviors [22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]. ...