Articles published from 2000-2017 were retrieved using PsycINFO, PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycEXTRA, PsycARTICLES, Mary Ann Liebert, Publishers-Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Wiley Online Library and Google Scholar, for full-text articles in the English language. The search strategy included the following key search words: mindfulness, meditation, mindfulness based stress reduction, MBSR, loving kindness meditation, LKM, adherence, home work and long-term meditation. The following inclusion criteria were followed: (a) the study included a meditation intervention; (b) were published in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings or theses; (c) included adult participants only; (d) was original research; (e) research was published between 2008-2017 and (f) investigated the experience of meditators or adherence to meditation practice.
After screening criteria, the search netted 56 studies and of those 17 studies investigated the experience of meditators or adherence to meditation practice. Studies included heterogeneous and homogenous samples as warranted by study design and research focus and the bulk of the studies selected were published within the last five years. All studies were included whether they reported adherence or not. The data across these studies was synthesized using thematic tables with three primary themes emerging with similar content deemed important to the research topic. The themes were then checked against the original studies weighing the validity and reliability of each.
|Author’s/Authors’ Names||Form of meditation and duration||Design||Sample size||Measure of success||Themes related to meditation success versus failure|
|Ataria Y et al., ||Satipathana and Theravada Vipassana||20,000 hours of meditation over 40 years||Case study||1 male||English speaking||Living in Israel||Ability to introspect upon ones experience during meditation and produce subtle changes in consciousness under experimental conditions||Long term meditators may achieve unique states of consciousness|
|Barkan T et al., ||Mindfulness based stress reduction||Duration 8 weeks: 7 weekly 2-hour sessions and 1 7-hour intensive session||Mixed method with regression analysis and self-reported journals||100 older adults||62% women97% white86% college education or higherAges 64-91||Living in US||Higher likelihood of using MBSR techniques at 6 month follow-up||Openness and agreeableness predicts better outcomes|
|Cohn MA et al., ||Loving Kindness Meditation||6 60-minute group sessions over a 7-week period20 minutes meditation20 minutes check-in on progress20 minutes instruction||1 year follow up survey of randomized control trial||95 adults from an original study sample of 139 participants (45 from experimental groups and 50 from a waitlist control group)||Mean age 41 years81.1% Caucasian6.3% Asian9.5% South Asian77.9% bachelors degree or higher||Living in US||Long lasting positive emotion skills, enduring capacity to increase personal resources even if they stopped meditating||Greater positive emotion may be a predictor of meditation outcomes|
|Crane C et al., ||Mindfulness based cognitive therapy||8 weekly 2-hour group treatment sessions6 2-hour follow-up classes 6 weeks and 6 months post-treatmentClasses included meditation training with sustained attention on body and breath and depersonalized perspective||Randomized control trial||108 adults with at least 3 episodes of major depression but in remission||94% Caucasian70% FemaleMean age 43.86||Living in UK||Lower hazard of relapse||Greater amount of home practise decreases relapse to depression|
|Crane C et al., ||Mindfulness based cognitive therapy||8 sessions over 9 weeks including an all day practise session (length of weekly session not stated)||Randomized control trial||68 adults||Treatment (n=33)Waitlist (n=36)1 past episode of major depression and a history of active suicidal ideation or attempt, but well asymptomatic at trial entry26 men42 womenMean age 42 years80% had post-secondary training or education||Living in UK||Remaining in the trial without drop out||High cognitive reactivity, depressive rumination and brooding may inhibit response to meditation|
|Grow JC et al., ||Mindfulness based relapse prevention||8 weekly 2-hour sessions||Randomized control trial||93 adults (18-70) with substance use disorders with completed inpatient treatment within two weeks of study||64.5% maleMean age 40.8463.4 Caucasian22.6 African American||Living in US||Greater home practise and less alcohol and other drug craving||Greater home practise decreased AOD use and craving|
|Kerr, CE et al., ||Mindfulness based stress reduction||8 weekly 2-2.5 hour sessions and one full day session||Qualitative: Grounded Theory with close ended coding||7 adults (5 completed)||All womenMean age 315 Caucasian 2 Hispanic1 Asian American||Living in US||Exploratory study on participants ability to describe experience of MBSR||Somatic experiences may break rumination link, distress occurs during meditation, spikes in dis-regulation midway through meditation course was followed by improvement in reperception|
|Laurie & Blandford ||Digital mindfulness application||Self-directed over 30-40 days||Qualitative: Semi-structured interview||16 adults||Ages 25-38Mean age 32.55males11 femalesAll working full-time||Living in UK||Exploratory study to examine enabling factors and barriers to mobile-based mindfulness intervention||Expectations, perceptions of time availability, people’s beliefs, affective states and lifestyles may affect uptake of meditation.|
|Lykins ELB & Baer RA (2009) ||Mindfulness meditation||Meditators: 1-2 sessions per week minimum96% Buddhist based meditation72% 21-45 minutes duration each session19% 1-20 minutes10% 45 minutes or more||Correlational study with mediation analysis||182 adult meditators||Mean age 49.628% male94% Caucasian71% mental health professionalMean education 19 years78 adult non-meditatorsMean age 43.236% male90% Caucasian47% mental health professionalMean education 18.4 years||Mindfulness as a predictor of well-being, reflection, self-compassion, emotional intelligence, and openness to experience||There may be a relationship between long-term meditation and psychological adjustment. With long term practise rumination of new meditators may decrease.|
|Lomas T et al., ||Primarily mindfulness, six element and metta bhavana (loving kindness meditiaon)||Qualitative: In-depth interviews||Ages 18 and older||27 Caucasion1 Mixed British & 2 Asian16 College Education or higher12 ProfessionalCommunity sample23 over 5 years meditation experience||Living in London||Impact of meditation on men’s wellbeing||Meditation was difficult to learn, difficult to practise, was associated with troubling thoughts and emotions and exacerbated mental health symptoms|
|Miller SH & Green S ||Non-required meditation||Survey||209 adults||2.9% males56.7% MBA candidates49.8% full-time employed25.3 part-time employed||Living in US||Values about meditation effect integration||How meditation is framed, presented, perceived contextual legitimacy and participants sense of efficacy influenced openness|
|Morone NE et al., ||Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction||8 90-minute sessions||Qualitative study: Grounded Theory||27 older adults with low back pain||65 years or olderEnglish speakingPrimarily male and Caucasian||Living in US||Investigative study on effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults||Barriers to consistency may include sleepiness and difficulty finding time in the day to practice|
|Petersen M & La Cour P ||Mindfulness based stress reduction||8 2.5-hour sessions with 20 min break1 4.5-hour session40 minutes daily home practise||Mixed methods: questionnaire, focus group interviews and case studies||58 adults in outpatient mental health program||All were English speaking||Living in Denmark||Describe and predict who would benefit from MBSR||Older age and stable living conditions may predict better outcomes.|
|Rosenzweig S et al., ||Mindfulness based stress reduction||8 week||Correlational study: Prospective cohort design||133 adults with chronic pain||Ages 23-78Mean age 49.884% women93% Caucasian54% actively working or students||Living in USA||Assess measures of bodily pain and psychological symptoms and factors associated with compliance of home practise||Increased home meditation was associated with improvement on several outcomes for chronic pain patients.|
|Shaner L et al., ||Shamatha & Vipassana||Practiced meditation for over 10 years – minimum of 20 minutes per day||Interpretive phenomenological analysis||6 Participants||Female||Living in USA||Exploration of the lived experience of long-term meditators||Challenges included leg pain, unusual sensations, drowsiness, boredom, agitation, fear, resistance, and discouragement, lack of concentration, dullness and trying too hard.|
|Shonin E et al., ||Meditation awareness training of Buddhist tradition||8 week 2-hour sessions||Interpretive phenomenological analysis||10 adults||7 female3 maleAges 20-42Mean age 30.170% Caucasian||Living in UK||Exploration of the acceptability and effectiveness of meditation||MAT participants reported improved psychological well being. Traditional course design and group support were important to participants.|
|Stelter R ||Variety of meditation approaches||6-8 weeks||Qualitative: narrative inquiry||3 adults with mild mental health symptoms||2 female1 male||Living in Denmark||Unfold the lived experiences of participants during mindfulness meditation training||Rumination and elevated worry was a described challenge throughout the meditation process|
Citation: Kambolis DM (2017) Predictors of Meditation Success: A Literature Review. J Altern Complement Integr Med 3: 037.
Copyright: © 2017 Dawn Michele Kambolis, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.