Be Here Now: Evaluating an Adapted Mindfulness-Based Intervention in a Mixed Population with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Neurological Conditions
Canadé, Rosario Franco
Acquired brain injury (ABI) and long-term neurological conditions (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease), are major causes of disability in the UK, and can lead to significant physical, cognitive, neuro-behavioural, psychological and social difficulties for sufferers. Individuals affected by an ABI or neurological conditions commonly report difficulties around emotional adjustment, reduced attention, mental control, and self-efficacy and their health-related quality of life also often appears to be much reduced. Whilst conventional neuro-rehabilitation has tended to address physical and cognitive impairments and deficits rather than psychological sequelae, recently a growing trend for more holistic approaches appears to have emerged (e.g., Wilson et al., 2000, 2013). Amongst these approaches, mindfulness-based interventions (collectively known as MBIs) have sought to address this gap in terms of therapeutic intervention. There is a growing body of research evidence pointing to the utility of MBIs in the rehabilitation and support of these populations in improving perceived quality of life and increasing self-management of these conditions. However, the research still remains limited and debate persists in terms of the conceptual and theoretical framework of mindfulness. The present study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of an adapted, short-form MBI group programme for a mixed population of patients (n = 22) currently offered in a local neuro-rehabilitation service. A specific pre-post control group design was adopted in order to investigate whether the intervention produced improvements in mindfulness skills, and whether these would in turn lead to improvements in measures associated with self-efficacy and perceived quality of life. Results indicated participants completing the MBI group programme showed significantly higher mean scores across measures of mindfulness. The results also indicated that these improvements were predictive of improvements across self-efficacy and quality of life measures, with large effect sizes observed. The findings would appear to support the research hypothesis that a suitably modified MBI is beneficial for a mixed ABI population. Findings, study limitations, clinical relevance and implications, as well as methodological and theoretical considerations and directions for future research are discussed in light of the main research questions.