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Mindfulness meditation training and cognitive functions in older adults


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Bushnell, CL 2013 , 'Mindfulness meditation training and cognitive functions in older adults', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study investigated the effect of a 10-week mindfulness meditation (MM) group program on older adults' performance on neuropsychological (CogState) tests of cognitive functions that typically decline with age. A sample of 44 meditation-naive adults (13 males, 31 females) aged 60-85 years (M= 69.07, SD = 6.53) completed neuropsychological tests of sustained attention, working memory, visuospatial memory, executive functions and processing speed. Following baseline testing, 22 of the participants attended a 10-week MM (Vipassana-based) training program involving weekly group meetings and daily individual MM practice, while 22 participants were part of an inactive (no intervention) control group. Both groups completed the same neuropsychological tests at the completion of the MM training program (3 months post-baseline-testing). The hypothesis that MM participants would show significant pre- to post-test improvements on all tests of cognitive functions, relative to the control group, was not supported by the results. Unexpectedly, both groups demonstrated significantly improved performance on visuospatial memory and executive functions tasks, while neither group improved significantly on tests of sustained attention, working memory or processing speed. However, the findings of this study are inconclusive due to a number of methodological limitations, and it is suggested that further research be conducted to determine whether differences in MM program characteristics (e.g., length of training, emphasis of techniques) and cognitive outcome measures produce MM-training-specific improvements in older adults' cognitive abilities.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Bushnell, CL
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Copyright 2013 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MPsych(Clin)--University of Tasmania, 2013. Includes bibliographical references

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