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Am Psychol. 2015 Oct;70(7):593-620. doi: 10.1037/a0039589.

Prospects for a clinical science of mindfulness-based intervention.

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Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder.
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough.


Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are at a pivotal point in their future development. Spurred on by an ever-increasing number of studies and breadth of clinical application, the value of such approaches may appear self-evident. We contend, however, that the public health impact of MBIs can be enhanced significantly by situating this work in a broader framework of clinical psychological science. Utilizing the National Institutes of Health stage model (Onken, Carroll, Shoham, Cuthbert, & Riddle, 2014), we map the evidence base for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction as exemplars of MBIs. From this perspective, we suggest that important gaps in the current evidence base become apparent and, furthermore, that generating more of the same types of studies without addressing such gaps will limit the relevance and reach of these interventions. We offer a set of 7 recommendations that promote an integrated approach to core research questions, enhanced methodological quality of individual studies, and increased logical links among stages of clinical translation in order to increase the potential of MBIs to impact positively the mental health needs of individuals and communities.

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