Department of Psychiatry
Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Health Psychology | Integrative Medicine | Mental and Social Health | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology
Initiating and maintaining behavior change is key to the prevention and treatment of most preventable chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses. The cultivation of mindfulness, involving acceptance and nonjudgment of present-moment experience, often results in transformative health behavior change. Neural systems involved in motivation and learning have an important role to play. A theoretical model of mindfulness that integrates these mechanisms with the cognitive, emotional, and self-related processes commonly described, while applying an integrated model to health behavior change, is needed. This integrative review (1) defines mindfulness and describes the mindfulness-based intervention movement, (2) synthesizes the neuroscience of mindfulness and integrates motivation and learning mechanisms within a mindful self-regulation model for understanding the complex effects of mindfulness on behavior change, and (3) synthesizes current clinical research evaluating the effects of mindfulness-based interventions targeting health behaviors relevant to psychiatric care. The review provides insight into the limitations of current research and proposes potential mechanisms to be tested in future research and targeted in clinical practice to enhance the impact of mindfulness on behavior change.
health behavior, mental disorders, mindfulness, motivation, neuroscience, self-management, self-regulation
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Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.
DOI of Published Version
Schuman-Olivier Z, Trombka M, Lovas DA, Brewer JA, Vago DR, Gawande R, Dunne JP, Lazar SW, Loucks EB, Fulwiler C. Mindfulness and Behavior Change. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2020 Nov/Dec;28(6):371-394. doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000277. PMID: 33156156; PMCID: PMC7647439. Link to article on publisher's site
Harvard review of psychiatry
Schuman-Olivier Z, Trombka M, Lovas DA, Brewer JA, Vago DR, Gawande R, Dunne JP, Lazar SW, Loucks EB, Fulwiler CE. (2020). Mindfulness and Behavior Change. Psychiatry Publications. https://doi.org/10.1097/HRP.0000000000000277. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/psych_pp/957
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Alternative and Complementary Medicine Commons, Behavioral Medicine Commons, Health Psychology Commons, Integrative Medicine Commons, Mental and Social Health Commons, Movement and Mind-Body Therapies Commons, Neuroscience and Neurobiology Commons, Psychiatry Commons, Psychiatry and Psychology Commons