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Mindful attention increases and mediates psychological outcomes following mantram repetition practice in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Bormann JE, Oman D, Walter KH, Johnson BD. Mindful attention increases and mediates psychological outcomes following mantram repetition practice in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Medical care. 2014 Dec 1; 52(12 Suppl 5):S13-8.

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BACKGROUND: Several evidence-based treatments are available to veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, not all veterans benefit from these treatments or prefer to engage in them. OBJECTIVES: The current study explored whether (1) a mantram repetition program (MRP) increased mindful attention among veterans with PTSD, (2) mindful attention mediated reduced PTSD symptom severity and enhanced psychological well-being, and (3) improvement in mindful attention was due to the frequency of mantram repetition practice. RESEARCH DESIGN: Data from a randomized controlled trial comparing MRP plus treatment as usual (MRP+TAU) or TAU were analyzed using hierarchical linear models. SUBJECTS: A total of 146 veterans with PTSD from military-related trauma were recruited from a Veterans Affairs outpatient PTSD clinic (71 MRP+TAU; 75 TAU). MEASURES: The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), PTSD Checklist (PCL), the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 depression subscale, Health Survey SF-12v2, and Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) were used. Frequency of mantram repetition practice was measured using wrist-worn counters and daily logs. RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses indicated greater increases in mindful attention, as measured by the MAAS, for MRP+TAU as compared with TAU participants (P < 0.01). Mindful attention gains mediated previously reported treatment effects on reduced PTSD symptoms (using both CAPS and PCL), reduced depression, and improved psychological well-being. Frequency of mantram repetition practice in turn mediated increased mindful attention. CONCLUSIONS: The MRP intervention and specifically, mantram practice, improved mindful attention in veterans with PTSD, yielding improved overall psychological well-being. MRP may be a beneficial adjunct to usual care in veterans with PTSD.

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