Meditation and psychological health: modeling theoretically derived predictors, processes, and outcomes

Ireland, Michael James (2013) Meditation and psychological health: modeling theoretically derived predictors, processes, and outcomes. Mindfulness, 4 (4). pp. 362-374. ISSN 1868-8527


Despite evidence attesting to positive psychological effects of meditation, little is known about how variance in the level of engagement with meditation actually relates to positive outcomes. This study draws on multiple traditional and contemporary theoretical frameworks to (1) uncover fundamental aspects of variability in meditation practice, (2) test the role of several primary and secondary processes believed to be responsible for positive effects, and (3) explore a range of positive and negative outcomes believed to be closely aligned with the original intended out-comes of meditation practices. Using two large (each N>500) heterogeneous samples of meditation practitioners, this study calibrated and then cross-validated a theoretical model testing the plausibility of several causal pathways linking variation in experience with meditation to positive and negative psychological outcomes. Results showed that individual differences in meditation involve both behavioral aspects accounting for the degree of engagement, and psychological aspects incorporating the intensity or depth of this engagement. Variation in these aspects accounts for large proportions of variance in psychological health and functioning outcomes. Several factors representing attention refinement (mindfulness), changes in self-perception and outlook (transcendence), worldview (insight), and psychological development serve as plausible change mechanisms serving to transmit the effects of meditation on psychological health and functioning.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Published online 24 August 2012. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology, Counselling and Community
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2012 11:35
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2014 05:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: meditation; mindfulness; insight; psychological health; wellbeing; positive psychology
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1104 Complementary and Alternative Medicine > 110499 Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170111 Psychology of Religion
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s12671-012-0136-z

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