Effects of Mindfulness Meditation and Distraction on Mood and Attention in Veterans with PTSD

Megumi Omonishi, Alan Stewart, Kenneth B. Matheny, Jeffrey S. Ashby


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a brief (20-minute) mindfulness meditation treatment on mood and attention in a sample (N = 63) of veterans with PTSD when compared with a period of distraction and a control condition. Pre- and posttests of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule were used to assess changes in anxiety and mood, while the Stroop task was employed as a measure of selective attention. To control for the effects of comorbid physiological and psychological conditions, sub-analyses were conducted for participants with and without depression, sleep disturbance, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. Analysis of results indicated that meditators who were not reporting sleep problems demonstrated higher levels of selective attention. A decrease in negative mood was found in all participants regardless of their group assignment. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


Mindfulness, Meditation, Distraction, Mood, Attention, Veterans, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Anxiety

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