Date of Award

Summer 8-30-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Melissa M. Brown, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David A. Abwender, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jeffery D. Snarr, Ph.D.

Abstract

Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness- based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness. Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized- controlled trial of Unstress II, a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness. Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre- intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms. The relationship between mindfulness and loneliness was partially mediated by rumination at both assessment times. Furthermore, the effect of the intervention on corresponding reductions in rumination was fully mediated by changes in mindfulness at the post-intervention follow-up. The limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed in conjunction with the observed findings.

Keywords: mindfulness, meditation, rumination, loneliness, psychological distress, intervention

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Psychology Commons

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