Dispositional mindfulness may promote flourishing when confronting cancer, a study reported at the 2014 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts (Abstract #237).

Researchers at University of Utah Health Care and Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, sought to investigate whether positive psychological processes would affect the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and enhanced psychological health in survivors of cancer.

Dispositional mindfulness is defined as “nonjudgmental and nonreactive awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and present moment sensory-perceptual experience,” Anna Beck, MD, said while presenting at the symposium. 

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For the study, the team surveyed patients using a questionnaire about their mindfulness, emotions, and coping in order to study their Mindful Coping Model. They found that patients with larger levels of dispositional mindfulness were more likely to encounter positive experiences mostly as a result of positive reappraisal of stressful life events.

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In turn, patients who took part in more positive reappraisal experienced a larger sense of meaning in life and more often savored beliefs. Patients that savored rewarding more had improved cancer-related quality of life and experienced less emotional distress. Dr. Beck noted that this model is purely hypothetical and is a limitation of the study.