Mindfulness is an approach to life based on an ancient Buddhist practice which means paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental manner, which aims to increase awareness, clarity and acceptance.
As a number of studies have looked at mindfulness-based interventions the authors of this narrative review set out to look at the clinical and academic impacts reported in these studies.
What they did was evaluate 18 studies where they found a number of strengths –
- replicable methodological approaches,
- multiple baseline designs,
- construct and criterion validity,
- consideration of mechanisms by which mindfulness might influence behaviour change.
However, there were also a number of limitations
- few randomised controlled trials,
- qualitative data included without structured analysis,
- little use of statistical analyses,
- sampling problems leading to difficulties generalising findings.
They also identified a lack of research on some key theories such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (which emphasises the psychosocial aspects of treatment) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (an approach which helps the person accept their thoughts, but then use a variety of techniques to diffuse that thought)
They call for further research in these areas.
The effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for supporting people with intellectual disabilities: a narrative review, Harper S et al., in Behaviour Modification, 37, 3, 431-453