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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:576258. doi: 10.1155/2013/576258. Epub 2013 Sep 23.

Mindfulness and self-compassion in generalized anxiety disorder: examining predictors of disability.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA ; Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital, One Bowdoin Square, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Abstract

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition characterized by worry and physiological arousal symptoms that causes significant disabilities in patients' lives. In order to improve psychotherapeutic interventions, a careful characterization of the deficiencies of this population as well as factors that ameliorate disability is crucial. Variables that have not traditionally been the focus of research should be considered, such as trait mindfulness and self-compassion. We investigated whether GAD patients would report lower mindfulness and self-compassion levels than healthy stressed individuals. Eighty-seven GAD patients and 49 healthy controls completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Self-Compassion Scale, and measures of anxiety. Patients with GAD also completed the Sheehan Disability Scale. Results showed that GAD patients had lower mindfulness and self-compassion than healthy stressed controls, and both were negatively correlated with levels of anxiety, worry, and anxiety sensitivity. In patients, mindfulness was a better predictor of disability than actual anxiety symptom scores. These findings highlight that in the presence of anxiety symptoms, mindfulness can be a factor that helps protect against feeling disabled by the disorder. The findings thereby add an important variable to the characterization of this disorder and should be taken into consideration for future treatment development.

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