Do Worldviews Matter for Implementation-Relevant Responses to Mindfulness-Based Interventions? An Empirical Investigation of Existential and Religious Perspectives

Roman Palitsky, Deanna M. Kaplan, Susan A. Brener, Jennifer S. Mascaro, Matthias R. Mehl, Daniel Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) touch on concepts deemed spiritual or religious in the popular imagination, which may interact with participants’ own religious beliefs to influence implementation-relevant outcomes. Methods: Four studies examined how interactions between different (a) religious framings of MBIs and participants’ religious and existential characteristics are related to participant responses to the MBIs. Two cross-sectional studies (N = 480 MTurk participants and N = 266 undergraduates) examined associations between individual differences in religious/existential characteristics (scriptural literalism and existential flexibility) and participants’ willingness to try mindfulness described as (a) secular, (b) spiritual, (c) Buddhist, (d) from one’s own religion, or (e) from an unspecified background. Next, two experiments (N = 677 MTurk participants and N = 157 undergraduates) randomized participants to brief MBIs framed as either “secular,” “spiritual,” or “Buddhist,” and examined acceptability of the MBI post-intervention. Results: Both cross-sectional studies revealed interactions of participant characteristics and MBI labels on willingness to try the MBI. Existential flexibility was positively associated with willingness to try mindfulness overall, and willingness to try “secular” and “Buddhist” mindfulness. Scriptural literalism was positively associated with greater willingness to try mindfulness labeled as “spiritual” or “from your own religious tradition,” and negatively with “Buddhist” or “secular” mindfulness. In the experimental studies, condition moderated the association between existential flexibility and acceptability ratings of the MBI, with only a positive simple effect of existential flexibility on acceptability of the Buddhist condition observed in both studies. Conclusions: MBI framing, as well as participants’ religious and existential perspectives, may influence MBI acceptability and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2952-2967
Number of pages16
JournalMindfulness
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acceptability
  • Culture
  • Dissemination
  • Implementation
  • Intervention adaptation
  • Religion
  • Worldview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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