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Front Psychol. 2016 Dec 12;7:1935. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01935. eCollection 2016.

Psychological Effects of a 1-Month Meditation Retreat on Experienced Meditators: The Role of Non-attachment.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, Primary Care Prevention and Health Promotion Research Network, Zaragoza, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental Zaragoza, Spain.
2
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, Primary Care Prevention and Health Promotion Research Network, Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud Zaragoza, Spain.
3
Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, Universitat de ValènciaValencia, Spain; CIBERObn Ciber Physiopathology of Obesity and NutritionSantiago de Compostela, Spain.
4
Servei de Psiquiatria, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Barcelona), Departamento de Psicologia Clínica i de la Salut, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM Madrid, Spain.
5
Mente Aberta - Brazilian Center for Mindfulness and Health Promotion, Department of Preventive Medicine, Universidade Federal de Sao PauloSao Paulo, Brazil; Hospital Israelita Albert EinsteinSao Paulo, Brazil.
6
Professor of Psychopathology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Red PROMOSAM Valencia, Spain.
7
Psychologist and Vipassana Master, President of Baraka Institute San Sebastián, Spain.
8
Miguel Servet Hospital and University of Zaragoza, RedIAPP, Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud, Zaragoza, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental Zaragoza, Spain.

Abstract

Background: There are few studies devoted to assessing the impact of meditation-intensive retreats on the well-being, positive psychology, and personality of experienced meditators. We aimed to assess whether a 1-month Vipassana retreat: (a) would increase mindfulness and well-being; (b) would increase prosocial personality traits; and (c) whether psychological changes would be mediated and/or moderated by non-attachment. Method: A controlled, non-randomized, pre-post-intervention trial was used. The intervention group was a convenience sample (n = 19) of experienced meditators who participated in a 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat. The control group (n = 19) comprised matched experienced meditators who did not take part in the retreat. During the retreat, the mean duration of daily practice was 8-9 h, the diet was vegetarian and silence was compulsory. The Experiences Questionnaire (EQ), Non-attachment Scale (NAS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), Temperament Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R-67), Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Self-Other Four Immeasurables (SOFI) and the MINDSENS Composite Index were administered. ANCOVAs and linear regression models were used to assess pre-post changes and mediation/moderation effects. Results: Compared to controls, retreatants showed increases in non-attachment, observing, MINDSENS, positive-affect, balance-affect, and cooperativeness; and decreases in describing, negative-others, reward-dependence and self-directedness. Non-attachment had a mediating role in decentring, acting aware, non-reactivity, negative-affect, balance-affect and self-directedness; and a moderating role in describing and positive others, with both mediating and moderating effects on satisfaction with life. Conclusions: A 1-month Vipassana meditation retreat seems to yield improvements in mindfulness, well-being, and personality, even in experienced meditators. Non-attachment might facilitate psychological improvements of meditation, making it possible to overcome possible ceiling effects ascribed to non-intensive practices.

KEYWORDS:

Vipassana; meditation; personality; positive psychology; retreat; wellbeing

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