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A qualitative case analysis of mindfulness meditation training in an outpatient stress reduction clinic and its implications for the development of self-knowledge

Saki Frederic Santorelli, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Qualitative and quantitative methods were combined to examine the experience of eight adults referred for mindfulness meditation training (MMT) within the context of a group, out-patient, hospital-based, stress reduction clinic. Through interviewing, observation and document analysis, three aspects of experience were investigated: the subjective experience of learning meditation; the application of meditation-based coping skills in daily life; and the effects of the training on perception of self. Individual and cross-sectional case study methods were used to examine longitudinally, the classes and common patterns of experience of participants during and following the conclusion of the intervention. In addition, the experience of participants was examined within the theoretical framework of Self-Knowledge Development Theory (SKT) in an attempt to understand how people at differing stages of self-knowledge, as delineated by the theory, experienced and utilized MMT. Results suggest that: (1) the majority of participants showed reductions in medical symptoms (MSCL) and in clinically elevated levels of psychological distress (SCL-90R) on outcome measures; (2) common patterns of experience characteristic of mindfulness meditation practice emerged progressively during and following the intervention among patients with diverse diagnoses; (3) the interdependent nature of the formal and informal dimensions of mindfulness meditation may be particularly important in the development of positive long-term changes in health behavior in the lives of medical patients; (4) there is an interactive, learning cycle between skill development (formal meditation), application of skills in daily life (informal meditation), and perception of self that functions as a self-motivating force, fostering continued skill development following the conclusion of the intervention; and (5) there is variance in the participant's use of the intervention that appears to be consistent with and further defines elements of the Situational and Pattern stages of Self-Knowledge Development Theory.

Subject Area

Health education|Educational psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Santorelli, Saki Frederic, "A qualitative case analysis of mindfulness meditation training in an outpatient stress reduction clinic and its implications for the development of self-knowledge" (1992). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9233158.