By Cassie Blombaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The UA Psychology department is seeking qualified individuals to participate in its Mindfulness-Based Depression Relapse Prevention program.
The MBDRP is an eight-week meditation based program designed specifically for people who have a history of depression but are not currently depressed.
The study, which takes place primarily in the Sleep Research Laboratory in the Psychology building, 1503 E University Blvd., consists of weekly 2 1/2-hour sessions, a six-hour weekend retreat and daily homework up to an hour in length.
Primarily focusing on how meditation affects depression, the program also intends to discover whether there are beneficial physiological or cognitive changes resulting from MBDRP's therapeutic effects, said Willoughby Britton, a doctoral candidate and the researcher conducting the study.
"Well, this particular study is looking for a psychological mechanism for how mediation helps depression," Britton said.
Britton said mediation is generally accepted as positively affecting depression, but researchers do not entirely understand why.
"We already know meditation helps depression, and it has positive effects," Britton said. "We just want to know what brain change and physiological mechanisms are responsible for these therapeutic effects."
Depression relapse is common among those who suffer from the mental illness, Britton said.
"Relapse is very common in depression," Britton said. "If you have had more than two episodes you have almost a 90 percent likelihood of having another one."
Britton said the MBDRP program is free for qualified volunteers, but there are several requirements to participate.
"You have to have depression in the last five years, you have to be 18 to 60 (years old) and you have to be able to speak and write in English," Britton said.
According to the press release, participants must also pass a screening interview, fill out questionnaires and undergo cognitive testing and physiological recordings before and after the program.
Altogether, research participation requires two evenings of testing, three overnight tests in the sleep laboratory and three interviews up to a year after the program finishes, according to the press release.
Participants will also be given feedback in the form of a sleep report with pictures of their brainwaves in each stage of sleep.
They will also be informed of any abnormalities and referred to an appropriate professional if necessary, according to the press release.
The research is ongoing until December and those interested in participating should contact the Sleep Research Lab at 621-5127, Britton said.