Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth A. Baer

Abstract

Pro-inflammatory cytokines have been implicated in the pathophysiology and maintenance of depression. This study investigated the effects of a short mindfulness intervention on pro-inflammatory correlates of depression (IL-6 and TNF-α) and selfreported psychological health. Sixty-four college females were assigned to a four-week mindfulness training group or a contact-control group. Cytokines and psychological health were assessed at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up (mindfulness group only). IL-6 and TNF-α significantly decreased from baseline to post-treatment in the mindfulness group only; these changes were sustained at 3-month follow-up. No between-group differences in psychological health emerged. Although reductions in proinflammatory cytokines in the mindfulness condition were not attributable to psychological changes, they may serve to protect against the development of future depressive episodes.

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