Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a progressive multi-dimensional disease with a complex network of somatic and affective components. Anxiety is a common experience for persons with COPD both as a reaction to dyspnea (48) and as a separate co-morbid condition (10, 26). The presence of anxiety magnifies COPD symptoms and further impairs physical functioning (53). Both anxiety and COPD alter breathing patterns similarly causing irregular rapid shallow breathing at rest, which is inefficient and cannot adequately respond to increases in ventilatory demands from physical or emotional activity (121). Both COPD and anxiety are also associated with changes in neurological functioning. Whereas anxiety tends to be associated with increased amygdala activity (54), COPD is associated with a decrease in frontal cortex functioning (25, 28, 122). Persons with COPD who experience anxiety are less able to correctly process the level of physical and emotional demand for any given situation and their ability to meet that demand (46, 123). Pulmonary rehabilitation addresses both the physical and emotional symptoms of COPD, however gains in function are quickly lost over time (4). Evidence suggests that mindfulness based meditation can alter neural pathways to facilitate processing of emotions and increase quality of life for persons with COPD. The overall objective of this study is to assess the ability of persons with COPD to participate in a mindfulness meditation intervention and to examine the impact of mindfulness meditation on their anxiety levels and global sense of coherence. A modified version of Antonovsky's sense of coherence model will be used as the framework for this study. We will address the specific aims: 1) to determine the effects of mindfulness meditation on breathing patterns;2) To determine the effects of mindfulness meditation on anxiety levels;3) To determine self-reported adherence rates following an eight-week small group instructional course on mindfulness meditation, and 4) To determine the effects of mindfulness meditation on global sense of coherence levels in persons with COPD. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine identifies meditation as a form of CAM that focuses on the interaction among the brain, body, mind and behavior that is already practiced by 8% of persons who participate in CAM therapy. Meditation is rated a special priority research area by NCCAM.

Public Health Relevance

A program of mindfulness based meditation will be assessed in the COPD population as a intervention that may increase the therapeutic value of pulmonary rehabilitation by promoting sustained optimization of breathing patterns and encouraging neuro-plasticity thereby putatively reducing anxiety, increasing respiratory variability, and improving self-assessment and self-management skills.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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National Institute of Nursing Research Initial Review Group (NRRC)
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Banks, David
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Nursing
Ann Arbor
United States
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Chan, Roxane Raffin; Giardino, Nicholas; Larson, Janet L (2015) A pilot study: mindfulness meditation intervention in COPD. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 10:445-54
Chan, Roxane Raffin; Larson, Janet L (2015) Meditation Interventions for Chronic Disease Populations: A Systematic Review. J Holist Nurs 33:351-65