Meaning-focused coping, pain, and affect: a diary study of hospitalized women with rheumatoid arthritis


The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between affective state, pain, and coping in hospitalized women with rheumatoid arthritis, including both between- and within-person perspectives.


Participants were 95 female patients between 24 and 82 years of age (M = 50.91; SD = 13.80). For three consecutive days, they rated each night their state affect (positive and negative), pain level, and coping strategies (emotion-, problem- and meaning-focused ones). Relations among variables were tested with a multilevel approach with time included as a covariate.


Within-person meaning-focused coping suppressed the negative pain effect on emotional state, but only for positive affect (Sobel’s z = 2.07, p = .04). Moderators of the pain–affect relationship were between-person differences in pain level (B = −.23, SE = .08, t = −2.884, p = .004) and in meaning-focused coping (B = −.63, SE = .20, t = −2.097, p = .04). Specifically, suppression was significant only for patients who reported lower than sample average pain levels and for patients who reported lower than sample average use of meaning-focused strategies.


Findings indicated that meaning-focused coping can be a crucial strategy for keeping daily positive affect in the face of chronic pain and how this effect is modified by interindividual differences. Even if restricted to the specific context, it may inform an intervention for hospitalized women with rheumatoid arthritis.


Treating fibromyalgia with mindfulness-based stress reduction: results from a 3-armed randomized controlled trial.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured 8-week group program teaching mindfulness meditation and mindful yoga exercises. MBSR aims to help participants develop nonjudgmental awareness of moment-to-moment experience. Fibromyalgia is a clinical syndrome with chronic pain, fatigue, and insomnia as major symptoms. Efficacy of MBSR for enhanced well-being of fibromyalgia patients was investigated in a 3-armed trial, which was a follow-up to an earlier quasi-randomized investigation. A total of 177 female patients were randomized to one of the following: (1) MBSR, (2) an active control procedure controlling for nonspecific effects of MBSR, or (3) a wait list. The major outcome was health-related quality of life (HRQoL) 2 months post-treatment. Secondary outcomes were disorder-specific quality of life, depression, pain, anxiety, somatic complaints, and a proposed index of mindfulness. Of the patients, 82% completed the study. There were no significant differences between groups on primary outcome, but patients overall improved in HRQoL at short-term follow-up (P=0.004). Post hoc analyses showed that only MBSR manifested a significant pre-to-post-intervention improvement in HRQoL (P=0.02). Furthermore, multivariate analysis of secondary measures indicated modest benefits for MBSR patients. MBSR yielded significant pre-to-post-intervention improvements in 6 of 8 secondary outcome variables, the active control in 3, and the wait list in 2. In conclusion, primary outcome analyses did not support the efficacy of MBSR in fibromyalgia, although patients in the MBSR arm appeared to benefit most. Effect sizes were small compared to the earlier, quasi-randomized investigation. Several methodological aspects are discussed, e.g., patient burden, treatment preference and motivation, that may provide explanations for differences. In a 3-armed randomized controlled trial in female patients suffering from fibromyalgia, patients benefited modestly from a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention.

Acceptance and commitment therapy universal prevention program for adolescents: a feasibility study

There is a need to prevent anxiety and depression in young people and mindfulness contains important emotion regulation strategies. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a mindfulness-based therapy, has yet to be evaluated as a prevention program, but has demonstrated an ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in adult and adolescent populations. This study examines the feasibility of using an ACT-based prevention program in a sample of year 10 (aged 14–16 years) high school students from Sydney, Australia.


Participants were allocated to either their usual classes or to the ACT-based intervention. Participants were followed for a period of 5 months post-intervention and completed the Flourishing Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and a program evaluation questionnaire. Analyses were completed using intention-to-treat mixed models for repeated measures.


The results indicated that the intervention was acceptable to students and feasible to administer in a school setting. There were no statistically significant differences between the conditions, likely due to the small sample size (N = 48). However, between-group effect sizes demonstrated small to large differences for baseline to post-intervention mean scores and medium to large differences for baseline to follow-up mean scores, all favouring the ACT-based condition.


The results suggest that an ACT-based school program has potential as a universal prevention program and merits further investigation in a larger trial.

Perseverate or decenter? Differential effects of metacognition on the relationship between parasympathetic inflexibility and symptoms of depression in a multi-wave study.

Behav Res Ther. 2017 Oct;97:123-133. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2017.07.007. Epub 2017 Jul 17.

Stange JP1, Hamilton JL2, Fresco DM3, Alloy LB2.

Resting-state functional connectivity in major depressive disorder: A review.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Sep;56:330-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.07.014. Epub 2015 Jul 30.

Mulders PC1, van Eijndhoven PF2, Schene AH3, Beckmann CF4, Tendolkar I5.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects multiple large-scale functional networks in the brain, which has initiated a large number of studies on resting-state functional connectivity in depression. We review these recent studies using either seed-based correlation or independent component analysis and propose a model that incorporates changes in functional connectivity within current hypotheses of network-dysfunction in MDD. Although findings differ between studies, consistent findings include: (1) increased connectivity within the anterior default mode network, (2) increased connectivity between the salience network and the anterior default mode network, (3) changed connectivity between the anterior and posterior default mode network and (4) decreased connectivity between the posterior default mode network and the central executive network. These findings correspond to the current understanding of depression as a network-based disorder.

The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 5, 2010 – Issue 5

The effectiveness of two online exercises intended to help individuals experience (1) self-compassion (n = 63) and (2) optimism (n = 55) were compared to a control intervention where participants wrote about an early memory (n = 70). A battery of tests was completed at 1 week following the exercise period, and at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. Both active interventions resulted in significant increases in happiness observable at 6 months and significant decreases in depression sustained up to 3 months. The interventions were examined in relationship to dependency and self-criticism, both related to vulnerability to depression. Individuals high in self-criticism became happier at 1 week and at 1 month in the optimism condition in the repeated measures analysis. A sensitivity test using multi-level modeling failed to replicate this effect. More mature levels of dependence (connectedness) were related to improvements in mood up to 6 months in the self-compassion condition. This study suggests that different personality orientations may show greater gains from particular types of positive psychology interventions.

Character strengths predict subjective well-being during adolescence

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 6, 2011 – Issue 1: Special Issue on Positive Youth Psychology


Previous research indicates that several character strengths (e.g., gratitude, optimism, persistence, and self-regulation) correlate positively with measures of subjective well-being in adolescents. We examined whether character strengths predict future well-being. Adolescent high school students (N = 149) completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths for Youth and measures of subjective well-being (depression, happiness, life satisfaction) at several assessments from the fall of 9th grade through the spring of their 10th grade year. In analyses controlling for the effects of other strengths, other-directed strengths (e.g., kindness, teamwork) predicted fewer symptoms of depression. Transcendence strengths (e.g., meaning, love) predicted greater life satisfaction. Social support partially mediated the relationship between strengths and depression, but did not mediate the relationship between strengths and life satisfaction. These findings indicate that strengths that build connections to people and purposes larger than the self predict future well-being.