Mindful Health & Resilience Lab

As a lab we have a long-standing interest in the study and practice of mindfulness meditation and related contemplative experiences. In earlier research we focused on dispositional mindfulness and its measurement, with a particular emphasis on Buddhist cultural validity of Western mindfulness measures. More recently our work has focused on mindfulness training to enhance resilience and health among groups exposed to high levels of stress, including first responders and marginalized populations. 

The lab is currently studying feasibility, mechanisms, and biological, behavioral, and psychological outcomes of integrated resilience and mindfulness training among first responders. In a separate study, we are investigating the protective impact of dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and resilience on the negative health outcomes associated with discrimination in BIPOC and other marginalized communities. 

Current dissertation students are evaluating:

  • a RCT of a brief mindfulness intervention on pain tolerance and risky decision-making among active duty military personnel

  • the feasibility and preliminary impact of an integrated acceptance and commitment therapy and self-compassion group on chronic pain and health outcomes in a primary care setting

  • a RCT of adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia among firefighters

  • the psychological and neuropsychological impact of mindfulness training on female veterans and their children

  • the psychometrics of a brief shame measure in a large, diverse sample

Headlines

Michael Christopher

A team of Pacific University researchers led by psychology Professor Michael Christopher and Associate Professor Sarah Bowen has been awarded follow-on funding by the National Institutes of Health for research and training of law enforcement officials in mindfulness practices. The project is intended to affect and improve outcomes when first responders arrive in volatile situations.

Black Lives Matter demonstration

Pacific University Psychology Professors Mike Christopher and Matt Hunsinger didn’t anticipate that their research would so closely track the headlines. It just turned out that way. And now they're finding that work has particular resonance as America grapples with questions of inherent racism in the systems of justice and law enforcement.