Online Program

Mindfulness: Physical and psychological outcomes in a military setting

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Penny Liberatos, PhD, School of Health Sciences & Practice, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Michael Brumage, MD, MPH, MEDDAC-Japan, United States Army, APO, AP, Japan
Rudy Melson, MHA, MACM, School of Health Sciences & Practice, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Jana York, MS, MEDDAC-Japan, United States Army, APO, AP, Japan
Background: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been shown to positively improve physical and psychological symptoms in a variety of populations. It has been found to increase cognitive flexibility, attention, and emotion regulation. These traits are especially relevant to those with PTSD. Despite the potential benefit, there has been limited work on MBSR conducted within military communities. Objective: To assess the effect of an MBSR-like course on physical and psychological outcomes among civilian and military personnel at Camp Zama, Japan. Methods: An eight-week MBSR-like course was provided to 27 civilian and military personnel at Camp Zama in early 2012. The course consisted of: 2-3 hour weekly sessions, 45-minute sessions at home on most days each week and an 8 hour silent retreat. Participants were surveyed about their health at the beginning (pretest) and at the end of the course (post-test). Results: Despite a small N at post-test (N=13), there were significant declines in reporting of overall and psychological symptoms (8.77 vs. 5.00; 4.23 vs. 1.38, respectively), symptom distress (27.62 vs. 22.77), and in self-assessed improvements in five health dimensions. Also, three out of five facets of mindfulness significantly improved. Pre-post attrition was most likely to occur among males and those <44 years. Conclusions: The findings of this pilot study support the potential for Mindfulness to improve the health outcomes of personnel within a military context. Some refinements may need to be made to the course in order to retain younger males in such a program within military communities.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare the health outcomes of a Mindfulness course in a military community with those in other populations. Describe the relationship between self-assessed changes in health compared to pre-post testing after a Mindfulness course.

Keyword(s): Depression, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an author because I was involved in the analysis of the data and presentation of the results from the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.