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Title: The role of self-compassion in mood repair for people with recurrent depression with and without experience of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Author: Palmer, Gemma
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 3351
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Systematic Review - Recent studies have identified potential change within interpersonal relationships following mindfulness-based interventions such as MBSR and MBCT; however, few studies have explored this in a clinical sample, from the participants’ perspective. This study aimed to explore this phenomenon by synthesising qualitative studies to answer the following question: How do people with a mental health diagnosis experience interpersonal change following MBSR and MBCT. A systematic search strategy identified 117 studies, of which 12 met the final inclusion criteria. A thematic synthesis was conducted based on the protocol developed by Thomas and Harden (2008). The thematic synthesis revealed an overall theme of connection, with subthemes of ‘the group as a community’; ‘reconnecting with the self’; ‘skill development’ and ‘reconnecting with others’. These themes were further synthesised to consider the interconnections between them. This revealed two points of interest: the power of the group community and intra- to inter-personal development. These themes were explored in relation to existing literature. The results are discussed in relation to the limitations of the study, and future research recommendations are considered. Empirical Paper - Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been shown to be effective in reducing the impact of cognitive reactivity (CR) and improving outcomes for people with recurrent depression. It has been proposed that this effect may be mediated by the cultivation of self-compassion; however, there is limited research into this mechanism. This study aimed to explore the lived experience of a sad mood induction and compassionate repair in people with currently remitted recurrent depression, with and without experience of MBCT. Sixteen participants were recruited (10 MBCT, six non-MBCT). Participants underwent a two-phase mood manipulation, sad mood induction and loving-kindness meditation (directed to a loved one and the self) and completed self-report measures before and after each task. Following this, participants engaged in a semi-structured interview exploring their experiences. The results showed both mood manipulations were successful, and mood repair was apparent within all but one of the participants. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis, identifying six key themes: vulnerability versus tolerance of depression; immersion versus transience of cognitive and emotional reactivity; avoidance versus tolerance of compassion; self-criticism versus self-acceptance; locus of control and mechanisms of repair. No differences were observed between the two groups in their qualitative or quantitative responses to the mood manipulations; however, those in the MBCT group with a greater level of current MBCT practice, appeared more able to transcend negative thinking and utilise the Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) more effectively for both themselves and others. The results are discussed in relation to study limitations and their implication to clinical practice.
Supervisor: Smithson, Janet ; Karl, Anke Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mindfulness ; Interpersonal Relationships ; Qualitative Research; Compassion; Depression; Cognitive Reactivity