Prior studies have focused on the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on alleviating physical or psychological symptoms or difficulties (e.g., Teasdale et al., 2000; Ma & Teasdale, 2004), or on enhancing positive states, including mindfulness itself (E.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003). Relatively little work has focused on cognitive measures that might reflect the presence or absence of mindfulness. Therefore, the general goal of the study is to examine the impact of mindfulness training on a cognitive-behavioral measure of mindfulness: the frequency of mind-wandering during reading. Attentional abilities, which are postulated to be enhanced with mindfulness training and essential for the mind-wandering task, will also be assessed with traditional cognitive tests. Secondary goals of the proposed study aim to determine the impact of the MBSR therapeutic intervention on a number of psychological and physical health indices. Specifically, we wish to examine the effects mindfulness-based training may have on awareness of emotional states, self-reported stress, and thinking and affective coping style. The basic study design is a randomized waitlist-controlled trial. Individuals not participating in the initial treatment group will participate in the next treatment group, scheduled to begin within one month of the first groups’ completion. Measurements will be taken at T1 on all participants (before first group runs) and T2 (after first group; before second group), and at T3, following the second group’s (waitlist only) completion of the program, allowing for comparison of data between treatment and control conditions. Depending upon availability of funding, this process may be repeated with two additional groups. Procedures to Assess Mind-Wandering include the following: 1) Sustained Attention to Response Task, 2) Word Encoding Task, 3) Cognitive-Behavioral Paradigm: Mind-Wandering While Reading, 4) Attention Network Test (ANT; Fan et al., 2002), 5) Inhibition measure, 6) Procedure to Assess Meta-Awareness of Emotional States. In addition to the above lab-based measures, multiple self-report questionnaires will be included. Results are not yet known, as the study will be running this year.

Durwin Foster

University of British Columbia