Mindfulness Training Vs. Adaptive Cognitive Training: Impact on Emotion Dysregulation and Cognitive Functioning

Friday, May 26, 2017: 3:40 PM
R07 (New Orleans Convention Center)
Ruchika S. Prakash, PhD , Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Brittney Schirda, MA , Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Hyunkyu Lee, PhD , Posit Science, San Francisco, CA
Ruchika S. Prakash, PhD , Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Background: Rehabilitation of cognitive deficits and emotion dysregulation is of critical importance in the integrative and comprehensive care of people with MS (PwMS). As such, several behavioral and psychosocial interventions are increasingly being examined for targeting these inter-related constructs of cognitive functioning and emotion dysregulation. However, lack of methodological rigor that creates differential expectations for improvements in the experimental and control group; lack of outcome variables that critically impact everyday functioning; and exclusion of emotion dysregulation measures that influence cognitive functioning are key limitations of the training literature in MS.

Objectives: The current study was designed to address these limitations by comparing the efficacy of mindfulness training, a secular practice promoting sustained attention in a non-judgmental and acceptance-based framework, with an adaptive cognitive training group. The active training groups were matched on therapist expertise, format of training, and homework assignments. Additionally, we included a wait-list control group to assess practice effects on our measures. 

Methods: Emotion dysregulation was measured utilizing a self-report questionnaire. Additionally, we employed a novel ideographic worry and rumination induction paradigm, to examine changes in self-reported emotion and emotion regulation strategy use before and after the induction. Employing the Brief Repeatable Battery, we assessed cognitive functioning, pre- and post-intervention. 

Results: Preliminary results revealed reduced scores on measures of emotion dysregulation, post-intervention in individuals within the mindfulness-training group compared to the waitlist control. There was no effect on measures of cognitive functioning. Future analyses will examine the impact of mindfulness training on emotion, emotion regulation strategy use, and heart rate variability within this sample. 

Conclusions: Initial findings suggest mindfulness training may be a viable psychosocial intervention for promoting emotion regulation in those with MS.