Mindfulness-Based Interventions to Depressive Symptomatology IV: Study Proposal, Discussion and Conclusion

Mindfulness-Based Interventions to Depressive Symptomatology IV: Study Proposal, Discussion and Conclusion

Proposal of Study

Method. The proposal for this study was formulated after engaging in an extensive review on the subject area of mindfulness interventions to depression. A substantive portion of the review of literature focused on mindfulness interventions to individuals currently in remission from depressive symptoms. The researcher of this review also discovered that studies on mindfulness-based interventions to depression tend to have a meta-analytic framework. Hence, the researcher of this review sought to propose a study in which current depressive symptomatology could be addressed in relation to mindfulness intervention usage. A qualitative research paradigm is outlined for this study since the researcher thought that this will allow for a more in-depth, personalized presentation of one’s experience with mindfulness. The researcher also thought that a qualitative research design would be beneficial in permitting the researcher to more accurately understand the individual level and experience of depression of the subject. Overall, the study that is proposed is based on past research conducted in this subject area that was examined in this review. This review was thus devised by amalgamating past research on mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with or without current depressive symptoms.

Measurements. As opposed to merely relying on self-report measures such as in Farb et al.’s (2010) study, this study will psychometrically quantify depressive symptoms. As in Van Aalderen et al.’s (2012) study, this study will measure levels of depression before and after exposure to mindfulness-based intervention by using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Beck Depression Inventory (Van Aalderen et al., 2012).

Subjects. Individuals will be included for participation in the study who meet the clinically significant point of depression as defined by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Beck Depression Inventory. Furthermore, as in Segal et al.’s (2013) study, it will be necessary for the individuals to have experienced a minimum of two previous major depressive episodes. However, this study contrasts Segal et al.’s (2013) study because it will also be mandatory for the individual to be in a current clinically significant state of depression.

Experience of two major depressive episodes will be a qualifying criterion for participants of this study, since this will increase the likelihood that the individual experiences chronic depression in his or her life as opposed to merely being in the process of experiencing a single depressive episode. As in Teasdale et al.’s (2000) design, the majority of the participants will have experienced three or more episodes of depression. This is to further ensure that individuals have experienced more severe forms of chronic depression. Namely, this is to ensure that mindfulness-based interventions proposed have efficacy in assisting individuals with severe forms of depression, as these individuals are at risk for adverse occurrences such as suicide. Hence, the overall goal of this proposed study, as in Segal et al.’s (2013) study, is to assist in determining efficacy affiliated with MBCT at preventing depressive relapse for individuals who experience chronic, recurring depression.

To rule out extraneous variable influence on mitigation of depression from psychopharmacological influences, as in Teasdale et al.’s (2000) study, individuals will have experienced treatment with antidepressant medication and have been off of it for 3 months prior to entering the trial. This study will examine the effectiveness on MBCT to individuals who are currently experiencing depressive episodes. As in Miller et al.’s (1995) study, this study will examine the efficacy of the intervention 3 months after it has occurred to establish a posttreatment effectiveness rating. Namely, as in Finucane and Mercer’s (2006) study, semistructured qualitative interviews will be conducted 3 months after completing the MBCT learning program.

Sampling procedures. The participants in this study will be individuals who are between the ages of 18 and 44. They will be acquired from psychological treatment venues, such as private psychological offices and hospitals, which deal with treatment of depression. These individuals will have experienced past depressive episodes and be currently experiencing depression. These individuals will be acquired before they commence treatment at the center where they are scheduled to receive psychological treatment for depression. This will ensure that receiving of treatment will not be an extraneous influencing variable on symptom improvement. Hence, the individuals acquired will most likely be on a wait list for treatment. Advertisements for the study will be posted in these offices at the request of the office owner or supervisory individual at the center. The poster utilized for this study will outline that service usage at the center the individual is attending will not be contingent upon participation in this study so as to avoid feelings of coercion.

Research design. In this study, a procedural replication of Ma and Teasdale’s (2004) study will be undertaken in relation to participant allocation in groupings. Namely, in accordance with Ma and Teasdale’s design, individuals will be divided into treatment as usual for depression group or treatment as usual in conjunction with MBCT. However, since this study is qualitative, in basis the overall number of participants used within this study will be smaller. Namely, this study will replicate Finucane and Mercer’s (2006) study by using 13 individuals who are currently experiencing depressive symptomatology.

In accordance with Van Aalderen et al.’s (2012) study, the effects of MBCT in relation to reduction of ruminative thought processes and worry will be examined. As in Van Aalderen et al.’s study, the researcher will determine if a reduction in ruminative thought processes and worry is present in individuals who were exposed to MBCT and treatment as usual as opposed to merely treatment as usual. This study will use semistructured qualitative interview framework and thus will use verbal participant input as opposed to a structured questionnaire. However, a semistructured interview style is useful since it permits for question themes to be posited and participants to engage in an elaborate explanation of their personal account of their experience. In addition to determining if these elements are present, the researcher of the study will examine if a reduction in overall depressive symptoms have occurred. This reduction will be measured with usage of the psychometric of the BDI-II and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. However, self-reports can also be obtained from the participants. Namely, for instance, if the results of their psychometric tests were indicating that they are experiencing more motivation to engage in activities, then the researcher could ask why this is occurring. For instance, participants may notice that they are experiencing more ability to experience pleasure in their daily tasks. The participant accounts are important to explore further since individual interpretations by the participants can be offered on how mindfulness is assisting them to improve their depression. Also, as in Deatherage’s (1975) study, participants will be asked to notice if they have an increased ability to decenter from their thoughts. It will be asked if they are able to assume the “observer” position more in relation to their thought content and resultantly distance themselves from identities affiliated with depression (Deatherage, 1975).

In addition to examining the positive outcomes affiliated with mindfulness practice, this study will discuss criticisms of mindfulness-based intervention to individuals experiencing depression. Subjects can be queried in the 3-month follow up period after the study about their ability to sustain their mindfulness practice. Participants can also be asked if they found it difficult to incorporate longer mindfulness practice periods in their schedules. Furthermore, participants can be asked if they experienced difficulty with thought detachment as advocated by the mindfulness practice. Participants who are familiar with Buddhist ideology can be asked about if they found the MBCT modality taught in classes to be in alignment with traditional pedagogical viewpoints.

Interpretation of results. After conducting the study and acquiring the data from the participants, the results of the data will then be interpreted. A coding process will occur which will allow the researcher to conclude prominent themes that are present in the data. Then, after engaging in this coding process, a prospective theory can be devised pertaining to these codes. The data will then be analyzed again in accordance with this theory in order to confirm its presence in the data. After this process, a write-up will ensue.

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