Participant Perspectives on Mindfulness Meditation Training for Anxiety in Schizophrenia

Mindfulness meditation training has been found to be helpful across a range of mental and physical health conditions. Research testing mindfulness-based interventions in the psychiatric rehabilitation context has been rare, however—possibly due to concerns about the potential for exacerbation of psychotic symptoms during meditation practice. Fifteen individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders participated in a pilot study testing a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce anxiety. In this descriptive study of program evaluation interview responses, we examined the feedback participants had provided in face-to-face interviews to determine the degree to which individuals reported finding mindfulness training acceptable and helpful. Two raters systematically coded the data independently. The combined findings led to the identification of themes that surfaced most often overall and the context in which these themes had emerged. Outcomes mentioned most frequently by participants were relaxation, relief from psychological symptoms, cognitive changes, and focus on the present. These findings were consistent with extant literature identifying similar constructs as active ingredients of mindfulness-based interventions. Results suggested that mindfulness meditation training was acceptable to all participants; no one reported worsening of psychotic or other symptoms while meditating. We concluded that mindfulness meditation training should be further tested for its potential to be helpful in recovery from psychiatric disability.



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