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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A 12-week integrative exercise program improves self-reported mindfulness and interoceptive awareness in war veterans with posttraumatic stress symptoms.

  • Author(s): Mehling, Wolf E
  • Chesney, Margaret A
  • Metzler, Thomas J
  • Goldstein, Lizabeth A
  • Maguen, Shira
  • Geronimo, Chris
  • Agcaoili, Gary
  • Barnes, Deborah E
  • Hlavin, Jennifer A
  • Neylan, Thomas C
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE:Innovative approaches to the treatment of war-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are needed. We report on secondary psychological outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of integrative exercise (IE) using aerobic and resistance exercise with mindfulness-based principles and yoga. We expected-in parallel to observed improvements in PTSD intensity and quality of life-improvements in mindfulness, interoceptive bodily awareness, and positive states of mind. METHOD:A total of 47 war veterans with PTSD were randomized to 12-week IE versus waitlist. Changes in mindfulness, interoceptive awareness, and states of mind were assessed by self-report standard measures. RESULTS:Large effect sizes for the intervention were observed on Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire Non-Reactivity (d = .85), Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness Body Listening (d = .80), and Self-Regulation (d = 1.05). CONCLUSION:In a randomized controlled trial of a 12-week IE program for war veterans with PTSD, we saw significant improvements in mindfulness, interoceptive bodily awareness, and positive states of mind compared to a waitlist.

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