Abstract: Durable Effects of Mindfulness on Neuroticism: A Six-Year Randomized Controlled Trial (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

340P Durable Effects of Mindfulness on Neuroticism: A Six-Year Randomized Controlled Trial

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Anne Baker, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Adam Hanley, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Eric Garland, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Background: Neuroticism is a personality trait implicated in a wide range of pathologies, both mental and physical, and research suggests this trait is positively associated with frequency of mental health services consumption. As social workers provide the vast majority of these services, it is essential for social work research to examine best practices for treating neuroticism and its comorbidities. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce neuroticism; however, no study to date has investigated the long-term durability of adaptive outcomes facilitated by mindfulness training. Method: This analysis examined data obtained from a large sample of young adults (N = 288) who participated in a six-year randomized controlled trial of a modified, 7-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention. Participants completed self-report measures of mindfulness (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire), neuroticism (Basic Character Inventory), and psychiatric distress (General Health Questionnaire). We computed a repeated measures ANOVA and univariate latent growth curve analysis to examine the effect of mindfulness training on neuroticism and psychiatric distress over the course of six years. Results: Results indicate that mindfulness training decreased levels of neuroticism over the six-year follow-up period, and that decreases in neuroticism facilitated reduced psychiatric distress. Implications: These findings suggest that mindfulness training can meaningfully alter maladaptive dispositional tendencies, thereby affording greater quality of life and decreased need for mental and general health services. Social workers providing mental health services may benefit from incorporating mindfulness training into treatment plans for individuals high in neuroticism and psychiatric comorbidities commonly associated with this trait.