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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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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.

Joshua Mervis
University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology

Paul Thuras
University of Minnesota, Department of Psychiatry

Angus MacDonald, III
University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology and Psychiatry

Kelvin Lim
University of Minnesota, Department of Psychiatry


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