By refining awareness of present-moment experiences, mindfulness purportedly increases physiological awareness. However, existing evidence of this is limited and inconclusive. One key population whose health is known to improve with awareness of certain physiological information is diabetics. Greater awareness of blood glucose levels can help diabetes patients to manage the disease. Thus, if mindfulness improves awareness of blood glucose levels, then it should improve diabetes management outcomes. The proposed research tests this hypothesis using a randomized, controlled experiment comparing participants who complete a standard mindfulness training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, to wait-list controls. Measures will be taken at three time points—baseline, post-intervention, and 1 month follow-up—to assess (a) accuracy of physiological awareness, namely real-time blood glucose estimates, and (b) behavioral and physiological diabetes outcomes. The results of this study will provide new, causal evidence to demonstrate whether mindfulness improves physiological awareness and, in turn, benefits an important clinical population.

Laura Kiken

Virginia Commonwealth University