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Personality and Individuals' Reactions to Mindfulness-Based Interventions: The Mediating Influence of Affects and Affective Processing

Applicant Cousin Gaëtan
Number 146088
Funding scheme Fellowships for prospective researchers
Research institution Departement of Psychiatry University of Oxford
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.03.2013 - 28.02.2015
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Keywords (5)

mindfulness; affects; affective processing; personality; coping style

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Ce projet de recherche s’intéresse aux interventions dites MBI (Mindfulness-Based Interventions) qui visent à rétablir ou à maintenir un équilibre émotionnel via des techniques de méditation laïque. Ces interventions ont connu un développement très important ces vingt dernières années en psychologie clinique; dans plusieurs pays, elles constituent aujourd’hui un traitement de référence pour la prévention de la rechute dépressive.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Les effets des MBI ont été démontrés par nombre d’études au design rigoureux, mais ces interventions souffrent encore de taux d’adhérence insatisfaisants, puisqu’entre 15% et 40% des participants abandonnent les programmes avant de les avoir terminés. L’objectif de ce projet de recherche est d’investiguer comment la personnalité des participants influence leurs réactions aux MBI. A ce jour, très peu d’études ont été réalisées sur la question; ce projet vise à combler ce vide dans la recherche actuelle.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Deux études au design quasi-expérimental sont proposées afin de répondre aux questions de recherche. Il s'agit là d'un premier pas nécessaire vers l’élaboration d’adaptations et d’améliorations des interventions MBI, afin de réduire les taux de non-adhérence et d’assurer que le plus grand nombre de participants aux programmes en retire les bénéfices escomptés. Le Oxford Mindfulness Centre, spécialisé dans les MBI, constitue un lieu idéal pour répondre à nos questions de recherche.  


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 26.12.2012

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Finding the right interactional temperature: Do colder patients need more warmth in physician communication style?
Cousin Gaëtan, Schmid Mast Marianne, Jaunin-Stalder Nicole (2013), Finding the right interactional temperature: Do colder patients need more warmth in physician communication style?, in Social Science & Medicine, 98, 18-23.
When physician expressed uncertainty leads to patient dissatisfaction: A gender study
Cousin Gaëtan, Schmid Mast Marianne, Jaunin-Stalder Nicole (2013), When physician expressed uncertainty leads to patient dissatisfaction: A gender study, in Medical Education, 47(9), 923-931.
Does patients' pretreatment trait-mindfulness predict the success of cognitive psychotherapy for emotion regulation?
Cousin Gaëtan, Page Dominique, Does patients' pretreatment trait-mindfulness predict the success of cognitive psychotherapy for emotion regulation?, in Mindfulness, (Advanced online publication).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University Jaume 1, Department of Basic and Clinical Psychology (Prof. Ausias Cebolla) Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Catherine Crane) Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology (Prof. Marianne Schmid Mast Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
University of Oxford, Department of Social Policy and Intervention (Prof. Paul Montgomery) Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
CHUV - Institut Universitaire de Psychothérapie (Dr. Dominique Page) Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
12th Congress of the Swiss Psychological Society Poster Does trait-mindfulness predict patients’ improvements during emotion regulation therapy? 11.09.2013 Bâle, Switzerland Cousin Gaëtan;
First International Conference on Mindfulness (ICM) Poster Does trait-mindfulness predict patients’ improvements in emotion regulation therapy? 08.05.2013 Rome, Italy Cousin Gaëtan;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Féminisation: Quel impact pour les soins de santé? Invité principal du Symposium des Mutulalités Libres (assurance publique belge) 05.11.2013 Bruxelles, Belgium Cousin Gaëtan;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Dépression: Les nouvelles thérapies magazine "L'Hebdo" Western Switzerland 2013

Abstract

The construct of mindfulness, which plays a key role in contemporary clinical psychology, is composed of two main dimensions: a dimension of attention that is directed toward the sensations, emotions, thoughts, and actions in the present moment, and a dimension of acceptation of the present experience, whatever its form may be. This nonjudgmental stance towards one's present experience is taught through sessions of meditation in what are called mindfulness-based interventions (e.g., MBSR, MBCT). These interventions have known an exponential growth during the last two decades, and a substantial body of research has shown that they significantly decrease negative affect and increase positive affect in clinical as well as nonclinical populations. They are now broadly used to prevent depressive relapse in previously depressed patients or to enhance emotional well-being in nonclinical (healthy) individuals. However, not everybody benefits equally from those interventions, which is reflected in the relatively high rate of dropout from MBSR and MBCT programmes (between 15% and 40% depending on the estimations). One of the most likely explanations for this dropout is that the sessions elicit negative affective states which are experienced as too aversive by participants with certain personality characteristics (e.g., high neuroticism or low conscientiousness) or that those patients do not see enough improvement in affect or affective processing across the sessions, which discourages them from continuing to attend the programmes. However, very little research has been conducted so far on how personality interacts with mindfulness-based interventions in predicting affective states during the sessions and change in affective processing across the sessions. The present research project aims to fill this gap. I propose two experimental studies in which participants will be randomly allocated to mindfulness-based interventions or to a control group. In Study 1, I aim at testing whether the personality traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness predict individuals’ adherence to an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention, and whether mean affects during the intervention (i.e., positive affective states and negative affective states) as well as changes in affective processing (i.e., negativity and positivity biases) from the beginning to the end of the intervention explain those differences in adherence. Study 2 aims at understanding in more detail the mechanisms explaining individuals’ affective reactions to a mindfulness-based intervention depending on their personality, and to see whether coping preferences (i.e., individuals’ way of dealing with affectively difficult experiences) mediates the link between personality and individuals’ affects and changes in affective processing. On the basis of the existing literature, I propose that disengagement coping (i.e., avoiding rather than confronting the difficult experiences) explains why individuals high in neuroticism or low in conscientiousness react more negatively to mindfulness-based interventions than individuals low in neuroticism or high in conscientiousness. This research project is a first and necessary step for generating hypotheses on how to adapt mindfulness-based intervention to the personality of the participants. Adaptations are necessary in order to reduce the relatively high rates of dropout and ensure that everybody can fully benefit from these interventions for promoting emotional balance. The Oxford Mindfulness Centre is specialized in mindfulness-based interventions and would constitute an ideal place for answering those important questions.
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