ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 1, 103-120, 2012
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An Investigation of the Role of Attention in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Recurrently Depressed Patients

Paul A. M. van den Hurk (a), Joel R. van Aalderen (b), Fabio Giommi (a), Rogier A. R. T. Donders (c), Henk P. Barendregt (a), and Anne E. M. Speckens (b)
(a) Faculty of Science, Radboud University, The Netherlands.
(b) Department of Psychiatry, Radboud University, The Netherlands.
(c) Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and HTA, Radboud University, The Netherlands.

Volume 3, Issue 1, 2012, Pages 103-120

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be efficacious in reducing relapse rate and depressive symptoms in patients with recurrent depression. To date, little is known about the underlying cognitive mechanisms. We investigated the role of attention with the attention network test in a randomized controlled trial with 34 MBCT patients and 37 waiting-list control patients. In the MBCT group depressive symptoms and ruminative thinking decreased and mindfulness skills increased. However, no differential changes in either specific, basal components of attentional processes (alerting, orienting and executive attention) or more general attentional functioning were observed. These results seem to fit in the pattern, emerging from recent research findings, that suggests that it might be especially the second component of mindfulness as described by Bishop (Bishop et al., 2004) - a shift towards an attitude with more openness and acceptance - that mediates the efficacy of short-term mindfulness interventions.

Table of Contents
  Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD)
  Rumination on Sadness Scale (RSS)
  Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS)
  Attentional Network Test
  Attention Networks Calculations and Analyses
 Statistical analyses
  Depression, rumination and mindfulness skills scores
  Attention network scores
  Overall attentional processing
 Depression, rumination and mindfulness skills scores
 Attention Networks analyses
  Normalized RT scores
  Error scores
 Overall attentional performance
  Probability of detections and misses
  Probability of correct and incorrect responses
 Concluding remarks

Correspondence to
Paul A.M. van den Hurk, Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen, Heyendaalseweg 135 6525 AJ Nijmegen.

mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; attention; depression; mindfulness; mediation; acceptance

Received 6 Jan 2011; Revised 29 Sep 2011; Accepted 7 Oct 2011; In Press 5 Feb 2012

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