Examining the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Executive Functioning in Older Adults
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2011
Research in cognitive aging provides extensive evidence of age-related cognitive decline. To better understand the extent of cognitive plasticity in the adult years, researchers have developed interventions designed to improve and maintain cognitive functioning. Research in mindfulness training as a cognitive intervention has demonstrated improvements in attention and working memory performance in young adults, but it remains to be determined whether these effects are observed in older adult populations. In this study, we conducted a randomized control trial to investigate whether mindfulness training improves executive functioning and working memory in community-dwelling older adults. Twenty-seven older adults (ages 60-75) participated in either a low-dose version of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course or a lifestyle education course. Performance between groups was compared on several standardized neuropsychological tasks of visuospatial attention, set-shifting, and working memory. Mindfulness training resulted in a marginally significant improvement in attentional orienting, but no significant improvements in working memory or set-shifting abilities relative to the active control group. Results suggest that mindfulness training may enhance attentional functioning, but further research is needed to determine the cognitive effects of mindfulness training for older adults.
Center for Clinical & Translational Science, The Ohio State University
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