Objectives: Most research on mindfulness and meditation has focused on structured therapeutic interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, or meditation retreats. Such programs have received moderate empirical support for improving psychological outcomes in clinical and nonclinical populations, but there remains a paucity of research on intensive or long-term mindfulness or meditation programs for experienced practitioners, especially those that incorporate Buddhist teachings. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program, Dharma in Daily Life (DIDL).
Methods: Well-being, quality of life, valued living, and theorized processes of change were measured using a naturalistic, quasi-experimental design over the course of the 2-year program and 6-month follow-up. Participants included 17 individuals enrolled in the program and 14 individuals recruited from community meditation groups.
Results: Participation in the program predicted increases in subjective well-being and mindfulness over time compared to the control group. Regardless of condition, frequency of meditation predicted lower psychological inflexibility and higher mindfulness, well-being, and progress toward values. Length of meditation session predicted a greater ability to observe experience, and prior meditation experience predicted greater non-reactivity to experience.
Conclusions: Although preliminary, results suggest that participation in a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program may positively impact mindfulness and general well-being. Frequency of meditation sessions appears to be a particularly important variable. These findings warrant further investigation of such programs and practice parameters, as well as how each may affect key outcomes.
Smith, B. M., Ong, C. W., Barrett, T. S., Bluett, E. J., Slocum, T. A., & Twohig, M. P. (2019). Longitudinal effects of a 2-year meditation and Buddhism program on well-being, quality of life, and valued living. Mindfulness.