The Effects and Mechanisms of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on Depressive Symptoms and Depression Relapse (MBCT)
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This research proposal is intended to elucidate the efficacy and mechanisms underlying Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in a population in remission from recurrent Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The first objective of the study is to replicate previous studies' findings of MBCT's effects on decreasing depressive symptoms and depression relapse rates. However, this proposal aims to make a novel contribution to the literature by using a randomized, controlled design, and comparing the effects of MBCT to an active control condition (ACC). The use of a well-designed ACC will enable us to control for confounding variables such as social support and expected outcomes, thus allowing us to determine whether elements specific to MBCT lead to its salutary effects (Aim 1). Previous MBCT studies have largely relied on self-report measurement methodologies, limiting valid conclusions about the nature of MBCT. Further, few studies have examined the mechanisms underlying effects of MBCT on depressive symptoms and relapse. Theoretical considerations and preliminary empirical evidence suggest emotional, physiological, and cognitive functioning to be promising mechanisms of MBCT. Therefore, the investigators propose to assess each of these potential mechanisms of MBCT using self-report, autonomic physiological, and reaction time tasks (Aim 2). Collectively, these aims are expected to strengthen the evidence base for MBCT while cultivating a scientific model for its effects and mechanisms on decreasing depressive symptoms and depression relapse rates.
Condition or disease
Major Depressive DisorderRecurrent
Behavioral: Mindfulness Based Cognitive TherapyBehavioral: Health Enhancement Program
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Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:
18 Years to 55 Years (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
must comprehend English well
be 18-55 years of age
meet enhanced DSM-IV criteria for remission of MDD, recurrent and have a history of three or more previous episodes of DSM-IV major depression in the absence of a history of mania or hypomania
at least one of those episodes was within the past two years
participant must be in remission and if on antidepressant medication (ADM), they must be on a stable dose with no change in type or amount for past 12 weeks or participants must be off ADM at T1 for at least the preceding 12 weeks
have, at screening assessment, residual depressive symptoms indicated by a Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II;) score between 6-19.
schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder
current suicidal thoughts and/or suicide attempt in last two months
current anxiety disorder if it constitutes the predominant aspect of the clinical presentation and requires primary treatment not offered in the project
substance abuse or dependence within last three months
dementia or subnormal intellectual potential
current obsessive-compulsive disorder
current eating disorder
history of previous mindfulness training or more than eight lifetime sessions of CBT