Participant Perceptions Following a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program: A Qualitative Interview Study

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2012

Project Description/Abstract

FLRG funding launched a large-scale qualitative study investigating how Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) graduates perceive the process of learning to meditate. MBSR, an empirically-validated 8-week course, teaches attention-focusing practices to foster present-moment, non-judgmental awareness of mind and body. Project objectives were to learn from participants’ own narrative descriptions what they found to be most helpful during and after the course. Co-Principal Investigator Tom Bassarear, Ed.D., conducted in-depth, hour-long semi-structured interviews with MBSR participants (N = 20). Undergraduate (7) and Graduate (2) Research Assistants in the Self-in-Talk lab were trained to transcribe, code data and perform Grounded Theory content analyses. All interviews have been transcribed; ten have been fully coded. Exhaustive turn-by-turn open coding yielded 612 content codes. Thematic categories are being developed through an iterative process of close reading and identification of participant meanings for integration of codes into relevant themes. Findings illuminate what Participants report being helpful, what hindrances they encountered, and how their definitions of themselves and of mindfulness changed with practice. Preliminary analyses show the importance of social interaction for learning, as well as shifting definitions of mindfulness, their intentions to practice, and recognition of their own reactivity.

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