Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been demonstrated to be successful in the prevention of relapse in patients with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD). With regard to its working mechanisms, it is hypothesized that mindfulness meditation influences the processing of emotional information and that it could therefore reduce cognitive vulnerability factors that are observed during and after remission of depressive episodes. In this study we investigated the effects of an 8 week MBCT training versus no intervention on the facilitation and inhibition of attention for sad versus happy faces in a group of people with a history of MDD, N = 45. The comparison group consisted of a non-treatment seeking group with a history of MDD, recruited from the community, N = 26. At baseline, we found that formerly depressed patients who applied for MBCT training inhibited attention for positive information, and showed facilitation of attention for negative information. However, the comparison group did not show similar attentional characteristics. After MBCT, participants showed a reduced facilitation of attention for negative information and a reduced inhibition of attention for positive information, which is indicative of open attention towards all emotional information.

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Keywords Attention, Depression, Emotion, Inhibition, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, adult, article, attention, clinical article, cognitive therapy, comparative study, emotion, female, human, loneliness, major depression, male, medical history, mindfulness based cognitive therapy, treatment duration
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10608-011-9411-x, hdl.handle.net/1765/39993
Journal Cognitive Therapy and Research
de Raedt, R, Baert, S, Demeyer, I, Goeleven, E, Raes, A.K, Visser, A.P.H, … Speckens, A.E.M. (2012). Changes in attentional processing of emotional information following mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in people with a history of depression: Towards an open attention for all emotional experiences. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(6), 612–620. doi:10.1007/s10608-011-9411-x