Primary Care-based Mindfulness Intervention for Chronically Traumatized Individuals

PI: Abigail Powers Lott, PhD, ABPP

Rates of repeated exposure to trauma and levels of trauma-related psychiatric disorders in low-income, urban minority communities far exceed national averages. Despite this, inadequate access and substantial barriers to treatment in urban traumatized populations remain. Mindfulness-based interventions may target emotion dysregulation and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, mechanisms that contribute to trauma-related psychiatric outcomes like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD).

The purpose of this study is to pilot a primary-care based mindfulness intervention for chronically traumatized Black adults screening positive for PTSD and MDD in primary care clinics within an urban public hospital. The study will utilize a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design along with a multi-method psychological and physiological assessment approach to establish the feasibility and acceptability of an 8-session mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention for primary care (MBCT) versus wait-list control in Black adults with chronic trauma exposure and comorbid PTSD and MDD. Preliminary mechanisms of action associated with MBCT including emotion dysregulation and autonomic function will be evaluated.

The ultimate goal of this research is to improve treatment for underserved civilian trauma populations in urban settings by taking a complementary integrative health perspective and enhance understanding of mechanisms of change in the context of trauma-related treatment.