Improvement of mindfulness skills during Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy predicts long-term reductions of neuroticism in persons with recurrent depression in remission
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SourceJournal of Affective Disorders, 213, (2017), pp. 112-117
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Affective Disorders
SubjectRadboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
BACKGROUND: This study examined whether changes in mindfulness skills following Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are predictive of long-term changes in personality traits. METHODS: Using data from the MOMENT study, we included 278 participants with recurrent depression in remission allocated to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness skills were measured with the FFMQ at baseline, after treatment and at 15-month follow-up and personality traits with the NEO-PI-R at baseline and follow-up. RESULTS: For 138 participants, complete repeated assessments of mindfulness and personality traits were available. Following MBCT participants manifested significant improvement of mindfulness skills. Moreover, at 15-month follow-up participants showed significantly lower levels of neuroticism and higher levels of conscientiousness. Large improvements in mindfulness skills after treatment predicted the long-term changes in neuroticism but not in conscientiousness, while controlling for use of maintenance antidepressant medication, baseline depression severity and change in depression severity during follow-up (IDS-C). In particular improvements in the facets of acting with awareness predicted lower levels of neuroticism. Sensitivity analyses with multiple data imputation yielded similar results. LIMITATIONS: Uncontrolled clinical study with substantial attrition based on data of two randomized controlled trials. CONCLUSIONS: The design of the present study precludes to establish whether there is any causal association between changes in mindfulness and subsequent changes in neuroticism. MBCT could be a viable intervention to directly target one of the most important risk factors for onset and maintenance of recurrent depression and other mental disorders, i.e. neuroticism.
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