Mindfulness is a perspective state achievable through common practices such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), yoga, or mindfulness meditation (MM) (Kabat-Zinn, 1982). Regular practice has been shown to increase health-related quality of life (HRQoL) by shifting the experience of chronic pain, depression, stress, anxiety, and other ailments (NCCAM, 2015). Unfortunately, the lack of education regarding what an ongoing practice entails and/or the short/long-term benefits has resulted in poor adoption. Mindfulness adoption requires an openness to complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), dedication to self-improvement, value of wellness, and often monetary funds to attend classes (Nahin et al., 2007).
This explorative study surveyed an underserved population, in exposing perspectives of efficacy, adoption, attitudes and barriers to mindfulness class utilization utilizing a newly generated 22-item survey. The convenience sample, consisting of 45 primary care patients from an integrative medical center that offers free mindfulness classes, was 73.8% Black/African-American from low income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, PA.
The population was considered vulnerable as most had low education (55.6% had completed part or all of high school), were unemployed (55.6%), and had or were prone to chronic illness (93.2%). The majority of patients believed that “anyone can learn mindfulness (by 86.7%),” “mindfulness could help physical (by 82.8%)… (or mental) ailments (by 86.7%),” and expressed “likelihood in trying mindfulness (interventions) (by 60.0%),” namely yoga or MM. Aside from the belief of mindfulness efficacy, the majority reflected predictors, seen in other studies, that influenced adoption: having tried one or more CAMs (61.4%), believing they were responsible for their health (84.4%), and being spiritual (71.1%) or religious (75.0%) (Ali & Katz, 2015). The most common attendance barriers were unavailability during class schedule (37.2%) and motivation (an under-reported 11.7%). Greater research and promotion is needed for this population for optimal adoption of regular mindfulness practices.
Panis, M. Miyori, "Barrier to Utilization of Mindfulness Classes in Underserved Populations" (2016). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 184.