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Effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Specificity of Life Goals

By Catherine Crane, Rosie Winder, Emily Hargus, Myanthi Amarasinghe and Thorsten Barnhofer


This study explored the immediate effects of a course of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for chronically depressed participants with a history of suicidality on the specificity of important goals for the future. Participants were randomly allocated to immediate treatment with MBCT or to a waitlist condition and life goals were assessed both before and after the treatment or waiting period. Results showed that participants receiving MBCT reported significantly more specific goals post-treatment whereas those allocated to the waitlist condition showed no significant change. Similarly, participants allocated to MBCT regarded themselves as significantly more likely to achieve their important goals post-treatment, whilst again there was no significant change in the waitlist group. Increases in goal specificity were associated with parallel increases in autobiographical memory specificity whereas increases in goal likelihood were associated with reductions in depressed mood. These results suggest that MBCT may enable participants to clarify their important goals and in doing so increase their confidence in their capacity to move in valued life directions

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Publisher: Springer US
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