by Stefanie Gobin, MPsy
This series was originally completed as a Major Research Project in partial fulfillment of Adler Graduate Professional School’s Master of Psychology degree.
Need for the Study
Depression is a pervasive phenomenon within society contemporarily. Patten et al. (2006) stated that major depressive episode lifetime prevalence for individuals in Canada is 12.2% according to the Canadian Community Health Survey. A review of relevant literature on the topic area of mindfulness-based interventions to depression demonstrated that research has largely focused on its application to individuals in regression from depression. Hence, this study will be undertaken in order to better understand application of mindfulness-based interventions to individuals experiencing current episodes of depression. Furthermore, Gause and Coholic (2010) noted that there have been significant concerns expressed pertaining to the divorce of mindfulness-based interventions in psychology from their roots in Buddhism. Hence, this study sought to remind the psychological community of the origin of mindfulness in Buddhism. This study is meant to be a resource tool for individuals to refer to about the ethical and spiritual implications behind the Buddhist practice of mindfulness.
Process of Development
The review for this study was devised through engagement in a substantive review of relevant literature pertaining to the topic area. Namely, the study was approached with the question of “Is mindfulness a clinically useful tool in treating depression as a psychopathology?” The study was employed with an attempt to understand the effectiveness of mindfulness as a treatment methodology for depression as contingent upon the amount of depression in the past that one has had. Specifically, research pertaining to individuals who have experienced recurring bouts of depression was examined. In particular, a focal point in research was devoted to individuals who have experienced either two or fewer or three or more bouts of depressive episodes. Questions pertaining to utility of MBSR and MBCT modalities were also considered as research was undertaken. This research study was also undertaken with a goal of contextualizing mindfulness practice within its etiology in Buddhism.
Research for the review for this proposed study was derived from a multitude of journals available electronically. Research topic areas were explored based on the research questions held in mind by the researcher. Then, gaps in the literature were determined based on the sparseness present in the literature. The researcher observed that there was minimal literature available about the effectiveness of mindfulness-based applications on individuals suffering from current depressive episodes. The majority of the research on mindfulness-based interventions pertained to individuals who were currently in remission from depression. Thus, the proposal of the study was devised on the basis of this gap in the literature. The proposed study pertains to investigating mindfulness-based interventions in individuals experiencing current bouts of depression.
This research study is a review of research and a proposal of a study based on gaps in the literature. An empirical study was not conducted, and thus this study has not been applied to human participants. However, the researcher is hopeful that the study can be applied to human participants. As outlined in the proposal of this study, the target sample will be individuals ranging from 18 to 44 years old. These individuals will be close to receiving treatment for depressive symptomatology. The participants in this study will have experienced a minimum of two depressive episodes of depression.
As noted, the study proposed has not been applied to human participants. Thus, an evaluation of its practical implementation on humans cannot be undertaken. However, the researcher can theorize that this study will be practical in expanding the area of enquiry for this topic area. This is because the study will involve participants describing personal accounts of the benefits and criticisms they feel are affiliated with mindfulness practice for depression. This will permit for the voice of the participant to be heard as opposed to merely reading a statistical account of improvement as done in so many MBCT studies. This study also will be examining individuals with current depressive symptomatology, which is useful since this is lacking in current literature.
Although the proposed study has not yet been undertaken, the researcher can outline that potential revisions may need to occur as the study is undertaken. Namely, themes of research put forth by the participants can influence subsequent queries in relation to interviews. For instance, if certain benefits or criticisms are highlighted, then these can be more prominent in semistructured interviewing in the future with depressed patients. Furthermore, the theory that comes to be devised on the basis of the coding and analytic process can influence subsequent questioning processes. These themes will emerge subsequent to interviewing participants. Hence, the process of enquiry will most likely continually evolve as different themes continue to surface and be integrated into the interviewing process.