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126. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Differentially Improves Overall PSTD Symptoms But Not Experiential Avoidance in Veterans
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a formal, multi-week intervention targeting pathological and non-pathological stress, using multiple modalities of meditation, and mindful movement, including basic yoga. Meta-analyses support MBSR for various physical and psychiatric conditions (Hoffman et al., 2010; Grossman et al., 2004). Present-Centered Therapy (PCT), including its group-based version (PCGT) focuses on altering current maladaptive behaviors, psychoeducation on trauma, and problem solving strategies for current issues. Meta-analysis of PCT and PCGT found similar efficacy to existing treatments like cognitive therapies (Frost et al., 2014). Veterans with diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (N = 116) were randomized to MBSR (N = 58) or PCGT (N = 58) and were assessed at baseline, post-intervention at 9 weeks, and follow-up at 17 weeks. People randomized to PCGT, compared to MBSR, showed greater PSTD symptom levels on the PTSD Checklist at follow-up (PCL; β = .57, p = .032), but not immediately post intervention. Individuals in both the PCGT and MBSR groups showed reduced experiential avoidance as indexed by the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II; β = -.44, p = .026). In subgroup analysis, correlations between the AAQ-II and PCL were strong for both the MBSR (r = .65, p > .001) and PCGT (.63, p > .001), but at this sample size would not be significantly or stably different from each other. These data support MBSR having a better post-treatment trauma-symptom outcome for PCGT, with equivalent findings for experiential avoidance outcomes between groups.