The Relationship Between Well-being and Mindfulness in People With or Without a Mood Disorder

Sarah Salem

Massachusetts General Hospital
The Relationship Between Well-being and Mindfulness in People With or Without a Mood Disorder

Scientific Abstract

Background: Wellbeing has been associated with mindfulness, but we do not know if this relationship is different in those with or without a mood disorder. To address this gap, we examined the association between mindfulness and well-being in individuals with self-reported mood disorders (i.e., bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder) compared to individuals without mood disorders.

Methods: We randomized 2217 participants to the Healthy Mind Healthy You study, a study that recruited from 19 Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRN) to compare a brief, 3-session online mindfulness intervention to a longer, 8-session mindfulness intervention. We examined the association of well-being and mindfulness in the MoodNetwork;N=126 participants, one of the PPRNs focused on improving the lives of individuals with mood disorder. To examine differences based on mood disorder diagnosis, participants were dichotomized into those with a mood disorder (n=60) and those without such as family members or caregivers (n=66).

Mindfulness was measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire; FFMQ), and overall well-being by the World Health Organization-5; WHO-5. Spearman correlations were analyzed between FFMQ and WHO-5 scores. We conducted a Fisher’s Z test to examine if having a self- reported mood disorder moderated the strength of the association between mindfulness and wellbeing.

Results: Participants were 88.1%, 84.9% white, and 91.3% non-Hispanic with ages ranging from 21 to 89 (M = 49.4, SD = 15.3). The WHO-5 was positively correlated with the FFMQ (r = .523, p < .01). This correlation was similar in a subsample including only participants with a self-reported mood disorder (r = .564, p < .01), and smaller in a subsample of participants with no self-reported history of a mood disorder (r = .328, p < .01). A Fisher Z test showed that these differences in correlation were not statistically significant

Conclusion: Well-being and mindfulness showed a numerically greater but not statistically significant difference in correlations in a group with self-reported mood disorders compared to a group without mood disorders.

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research Areas


Sarah Salem, Nevita George, BS., Evan Albury, BS., Ellexa Menezes, Meghan Conlin, Douglas Katz, PhD, Louisa Sylvia, PhD, Andrew Nierenberg, MD

Principal Investigator

Andrew Nierenberg, MD

Affiliated Website