Our Studies

Modern scientific research is confirming what human beings have known for centuries…that mind-body interactions play an instrumental role in health and disease.  Chronic stress, for example, is related to many of the leading causes of illness and mortality in the U.S., including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, chronic pain, insomnia, and asthma.  Therefore, effective ways of reducing stress are needed to help treat and prevent stress-related health conditions.  Mindfulness meditation practice has the potential to ameliorate the adverse effects of stress on mental and physical health.  What is less clear are the factors that influence the health-related outcomes of mindfulness training.

 

We are interested in a number of empirical questions, the answers to which are essential in advancing scientific knowledge of mindfulness as a health enhancing “way of seeing” and “way of being.”  To answer these questions, we are examining the intersection of psychological, biological, behavioral, and spiritual factors that, taken together, give a more complete picture of whole-person health:

 

 

The Serenity Study (Completed)

The Serenity Study was a voluntary research study to assesses different approaches to stress management in order to help lower blood pressure.

 

Eligible participants in the Serenity Study were asked to:

 

  • provide baseline measurements of blood pressure and complete online surveys 

 

  • participate in an 8-week stress management class 

 

  • provide a 6-month and 1-year follow-up assessment of blood pressure and complete online surveys

 

 

* Funded by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

 

 

 

Qualified study participants received an 8-week stress management course at no cost to them, and monetary compensation.

Serenity Study Eligibility

Have blood pressure in the pre-hypertensive range

(systolic BP 120-139 or diastolic BP 80-90)

 

Are a healthy adult between the ages of 21 and 70

 

Are interested in learning ways to better manage your stress

 

Are not taking blood pressure medication 

 

Have access to a computer

 

Are a non-smoker

 

 

If you answered yes to all of these, click the link below and fill out a brief survey regarding your eligibility.  After you submit the survey, a member of our team will contact you.

 

Serenity N.O.W. (Completed)

The Serenity N.O.W. (New Opportunities for Wellness) study was a voluntary research study that investigated whether an 8-week, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program can improve symptoms of stress, depression, and inflammation in adults living with HIV. 

 

Eligible participants for the Serenity N.O.W. study were asked to:

 

  • provide baseline assessments of blood work and complete online surveys 

 

  • participate in an 8-week stress management class 

 

  • provide a pre, post, and 3-month follow-up assessment of blood work and complete online surveys

 

* Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

 

 

Qualified study participants received an 8-week stress reduction course at no cost to them,
and monetary compensation.

 

Mindfulomics (Completed)

 

Initial clinical studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can modify gene expression in immune cells, opening the door to a new field of scientific inquiry Dr. Greeson calls "Mindfulomics". To advance our understanding of the biological ‘signature’ of mindfulness at the level of gene expression, this project put forth three research questions: (1) What is the functional genomic signature of state mindfulness, when induced through meditation practice (e.g., mindful breathing)? (2) What is the functional genomic signature of trait mindfulness, when quantified as ‘high’ vs. ‘low’ scores on a standardized questionnaire? (3) What is the functional genomic signature of a successful treatment response to MBSR, and is the functional genomic signature of an MBSR responder correlated with key outcomes, such as psychological well-being, quality of life, sleep quality, and objective health measures like BP?

 

Qualified study participants received an 8-week stress reduction course at no cost to them, and monetary compensation.

 

* Funded by The Institute for Integrative Health

 

Mobile Mindfulness for ICU Survivors (Completed)

 

Dr. Greeson served as a co-investigator on this study, which aimed to test the feasibility, acceptability, and clinical promise of a new, mobile mindfulness-based treatment for adults who survive the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Using a randomized clinical trial design, the study compared usual care to a telephone-delivered, 6-session mindfulness program to a newly developed mobile intervention delivered via the internet and smartphone application. Led by Dr. Chris Cox at Duke University, patients were enrolled at two sites (Duke University and the University of Washington).


* Funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

 

 

Mechanisms of Mindfulness:  NIH Career Award (Completed)

 

As an advance postdoctoral trainee and junior faculty member, Dr. Greeson completed a "Pathway to Independence [PI]" award (K99/R00), which aimed to study the effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on a cluster of psychological, biological, and behavioral variables implicated in cardiovascular disease risk. Notable findings from this study include significant MBSR-related changes in negative emotions (anxiety, depression, and stress symptoms), positive emotions (positive affect, gratitude, self-compassion, satisfaction with life, positive states of mind), transdiagnostic emotion regulation processes (rumination, thought suppression, emotion suppression, avoidance), sleep quality and quantity, and decreased cardiovascular and catecholamine reactivity to emotional stress testing in the lab.


* Funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

 

 

Mindfulness Skills Course for Penn Employees (Completed)

 

Dr. Greeson led the evaluation of a new 4-week mindfulness skills program, available for FREE to all employees of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). In addition to evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of the new workplace wellness program, Dr. Greeson and his team measured changes in perceived stress, mindfulness, attitudes toward oneself & others, and work performance reported by those who took part in the program.


* Supported by the Penn Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Penn Behavioral Health (PBH)

 

 

Serenity for All (Completed)

Everyone has the natural ability to be mindful, and mindfulness training is now available to almost anyone, anywhere. Research, however, currently under-represents people who are self-taught, as well as people of color. This mixed-methods study, therefore, aims to learn about people who practice mindfulness outside of a formal classroom, and the methods they use to practice mindfulness. The study involves an online survey and a phone interview component, for those who qualify. Both parts of the study aim to enroll individuals currently practicing mindfulness who are not enrolled in a formal course. The phone interview focuses specifically on people of color who are currently practicing mindfulness. Led by Vanessa Anyanso.


* Internally funded by the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab at the University of Pennsylvania

 

 

Contact Us
Find Us

Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab
 

Rowan University
201 Mullica Hill Rd.
Robinson Hall, Suite 100
Glassboro, NJ 08028
T: (856) 256-5271

 

University of Pennsylvania
3535 Market St., Suite 670
Philadelphia, PA 19104

T: (215) 573-0763
 

Email: greeson@rowan.edu