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

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


This review was undertaken in order to examine the influence of mindfulness-based intervention on depression. It is important to examine this area of enquiry because of the prevalence of depression in Canadian society. Particularly, for individuals residing in Canada, the lifetime prevalence that is affiliated with a major depressive episode is 12.2% (Patten et al., 2006). Hence, given its prevalence in Canadian society and in the world in general, it was desired to understand how it can most effectively be alleviated on a psychological level. For this review, mindfulness-based interventions were particularly examined since they are so predominantly focused on in research and clinical practice settings currently in relation to treatment of depression. The researcher desired to understand how depressive relapse can be prevented for those who experience recurring, chronic bouts of depression. Hence, the purpose of this review was to better understand the efficacy and criticisms available in the literature pertaining to mindfulness-based interventions to depression. The researcher theorized that with a better understanding of the literature available on this topic, potential gaps existing in research could be determined in order to determine a study that can be proposed. Thus, the goal was to contribute more knowledge to the topic area of mindfulness and depression so that more information can be available for mental health practitioners and individuals suffering from depression.

Summary of the Review

This review was conducted through means of an extensive review of literature pertaining to the topic area of mindfulness-based interventions to depression. An extensive examination was undertaken of clinical mindfulness etiology in Buddhist philosophy. Definitions from a clinical and theoretical basis were also integrated in relation to mindfulness. An extensive analysis of efficacy and criticisms affiliated with mindfulness treatment in accordance with depression was also undertaken. This analysis was undertaken in order to determine its effectiveness at treating depression as a psychopathology in relation to reducing symptomatology and changing relationships to thought patterns. This review was undertaken in order to determine the effectiveness of using mindfulness-based treatment on individuals experiencing depression on a chronic, recurring basis. Many studies were examined in which individuals had experienced a minimum of two depressive episodes. The specific effects of mindfulness observed in individuals were elaborated in detail during the course of this review. A study was proposed in this review that has not yet been used on human participants. However, the researcher desires that this study will be conducted in the future.

The researcher of this study will select participants who are currently symptomatic with depression and who have experienced a minimum of two depression episodes. These individuals will be selected prior to their commencing treatment for depression. The study will be undertaken by the researcher through replicating past research designs in relation to participant usage. As in Ma and Teasdale’s (2004) design, individuals will be divided into the treatment as usual group or the treatment as usual in conjunction with MBCT group. A qualitative, semistructured research design will be used 3 months after completing the MBCT learning program as based on Finucane and Mercer’s (2006) design. The effects of MBCT will examined based on Van Aalderen et al.’s (2012) study of reduction of ruminative thought processes and worry. Also, level of reduction of depressive symptoms will be determined empirically by using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. As well, levels of depression will also be measured through self-report from participants in the semistructured interviewing process. Overall relationship to thought will be determined by determining how much an individual is able to assume an observer position in relation to his or her thoughts as described in Deatherage’s (1975) study. After the study has been completed, the researcher can interpret the results of the study. A coding process will occur which will allow for the emergence of thematic schemata. Then, a theory can be devised which can be utilized in a secondary examination of the data. At that point, a write-up can ensue.

Discussion and Conclusions

Evidently, this reviewer of this analysis demonstrated that there has been an abundance of research conducted pertaining to mindfulness-based interventions in relation to depression. Namely, extensive literature exists pertaining to MBSR and MBCT as interventions in relation to depressive symptomatology.

Many studies were examined by the researcher for this review which discuss the effectiveness of using mindfulness-based interventions in relation to depression. Research has exemplified that mindfulness is a useful practice for mental health practitioners to engage in as it fosters greater self-confidence and increased mindfulness integration with a therapeutic context (Aggs and Bambling, 2010; Greason & Cashwell, 2009; Hutchinson & Dobkin, 2009). Therapists who use mindfulness have also been shown to contribute to more therapeutically beneficial usage of this skill by clients (Deatherage, 1975; Grepmair et al., 2007). There have also been a multitude of studies conducted pertaining to the neuropsychological benefits of mindfulness, such as its ability to augment functioning of brain regions responsible for attentive control (Hanson, 2013; Lazar et al., 2000; Lazar et al., 2005; Zeidan et al., 2010;). Mindfulness has also been shown to play a pertinent role in modulating brain regions responsible for happy mood in individuals (Davidson et al., 2003; Engstrom & Soderfeldt, 2010).

MBSR and MBCT techniques have also been shown to be useful in treatment of depressive pathology. As discussed in this review, MBSR and MBCT have proven to be useful in facilitating reduction in depressive symptomatology by reducing ruminative thought processes (Deyo et al., 2009; Segal et al., 2013). These modalities have also been shown to be useful in preventing depressive relapse for individuals who experience chronic, recurring bouts of depression (Segal et al., 2013). However, a limitation to using MBCT as a preventative tool for depression is that it is mostly useful as a treatment for individuals who have experienced three or more depressive episodes (Segal et al., 2013). Hence, it exhibits less effectiveness in individuals who have experienced two or fewer depressive episodes (Segal et al., 2013). Research has primarily focused on mindfulness-based interventions for individuals who are not currently symptomatic with depression, and thus this review used studies involving individuals currently experiencing depressive symptoms. Studies were analyzed for the researcher to determine that a reduction in depressive symptomatology does occur from mindfulness-based interventions for individuals in an active state of depression (Kenny & Williams, 2007; Van Aalderen et al., 2012).

Although many benefits have been found relating to mindfulness-based interventions, the results of this review showed that many criticisms are present about its application to psychology. Gause and Coholic (2010) and Montiero et al. (2015) described that mindfulness-based interventions in psychology are divorced from their roots in Buddhist philosophy. As well, Anderson et al. (2007) negated previous assertions that mindfulness assists in augmenting attentive control. Toneatto and Nguyen (2007) also determined in their meta-analytic study that only a negligible effect was found in MBSR’s ability to reduce anxiety and depression. Manicavasgar et al. (2011) described that CBT is more effective than mindfulness-based treatments, which contradicts Segal et al.’s (2013) assertion that mindfulness is useful in treating individuals who have experienced more episodes of depression.

As a result of this literature review, a study was proposed in order to fill in gaps in existing literature. A study was proposed about using mindfulness-based interventions on individuals experiencing current episodes of depression, since sparseness is present in the literature on this topic.

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