The relationship between mindfulness and objective measures of body awareness: A meta-analysis.

Author: Treves IN1, Tello LY2, Davidson RJ3,4, Goldberg SB5,6
Author Information:
1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
2School of Public Health, University of California - Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA.
3Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, 53703, USA.
4Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
5Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, 53703, USA. sbgoldberg@wisc.edu.
6Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. sbgoldberg@wisc.edu.
Conference/Journal: Sci Rep.
Date published: 2019 Nov 22
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 17386 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53978-6. , Word Count: 191


Although awareness of bodily sensations is a common mindfulness meditation technique, studies assessing the relationship between mindfulness and body awareness have provided mixed results. The current study sought to meta-analytically examine the relationship between mindfulness operationalized as a dispositional trait or a construct trained through short- (i.e., randomized controlled trials [RCTs]) or long-term mindfulness meditation practice with objective measures of body awareness accuracy. PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and Scopus were searched. Studies were eligible if they reported the association between mindfulness and body awareness, were published in English, and included adults. Across 15 studies (17 independent samples), a small effect was found linking mindfulness with greater body awareness accuracy (g = 0.21 [0.08, 0.34], N = 879). When separated by study design, only RCTs continued to show a significant relationship (g = 0.20, [0.02, 0.38], k = 7, n = 505). Heterogeneity of effects was low (I2 < 25%), although with wide confidence intervals. Effects were not moderated by study quality. Low fail-safe N estimates reduce confidence in the observed effects. Results suggest a small but potentially detectable relationship between mindfulness and body awareness accuracy. Future investigations could examine individual differences in body awareness as a mechanism within mindfulness interventions.

PMID: 31758073 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-53978-6

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