Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: Contemplative practice behaviors are associated with better mental health outcomes and compliance with shelter-in-place orders in a prospective cohort study

Benjamin W. Chrisinger, Tia Rich, David Lounsbury, Katy Peng, Janice Zhang, Catherine A. Heaney, Ying Lu, Ann W. Hsing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychosocial health can influence the development and experience of several chronic diseases, and has been negatively affected for many individuals amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. To understand the impact of contemplative practices on emotional and mental health during COVID-19, the Stanford WELL for Life Study (US component), incorporated a series of additional surveys into its ongoing study. A total of 1,097 participants residing in California who responded to at least one of three COVID-19 surveys were included in this analysis. Linear and generalized mixed-effects regression models were used to investigate relationships between individual contemplative practice behaviors (CPB) (embodied observing meditation, non-reactive mindfulness meditation, self-compassion cultivation, cultivation of compassion for others) and four psychosocial outcomes measured in the original WELL questionnaire (resilience, dealing with stress, positive emotions, and negative emotions). In addition, the associations between CPB and depression, distress, and compliance with local Shelter-In-Place orders were also investigated. Participants who engaged in any contemplative practice reported significantly more resilience and positive emotions, dealing better with stress, lower distress, and were less likely to report an experience with depression in the last week. Similar findings held when CPB was modeled as a continuous variable. Significant interactions between the duration of the SIP and CPB were also observed for resilience and SIP compliance outcomes, indicating that steeper declines were observed among participants with little or no CPB across the study period. Further investigation into the potential protective benefits of CPB during times of major disruption and uncertainty is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101451
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume23
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Compassion
  • Contemplative practices
  • COVID-19
  • Distress
  • Emotions
  • Meditation
  • Psychosocial
  • Resilience
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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