Congratulations to cand. psych. Christian Gaden Jensen who Monday Nov 23rd successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Critical Investigations of Two Meditation Based Stress Reduction Programs and of Mindfulness as a Predictor of Mental Health in the Population".

The thesis comprises three studies in an overall effort to investigate interplays between meditation-based interventions (MBIs), attentional functions, and psychological and physical markers of health. Study 1 was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) including healthy students and tested attentional, stress-physiological (cortisol), and self-reported outcome changes after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) compared with two active and one inactive control group. Study 2 represented the first validation of a Danish translation of the Mindful Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS) and extended previous research by testing the MAAS scores’ long-term test-retest reliability as well as the MAAS scores’ ability to predict scores of mental health and psychological distress, respectively, after controlling statistically for the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) and other potential confounders in an adult healthy community sample. Study 3 was an RCT including adults with prolonged stress and examined attentional, stress-physiological, and self-reported outcome changes after the meditation-based stress reduction and mental health promotion program “Open and Calm” (OC) in individual format and group format, respectively, compared with a Treatment As Usual (TAU) control group. Study 1-3 used several similar or identical outcomes and methods, enabling a broader discussion of MBIs, attention, and health.

Supervisors have been Steen G. Hasselbalch (Faculty supervisor), Professor of Neurology, University of Copenhagen and Peter Elsass (Project supervisor), Professor of Psychology, University of Copenhagen.

The evaluation committee consisted of:

Erik Lykke Mortensen (chair)
Professor, Section of Occupational and Environmental Health 
Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen

Andreas Roepstorff 
Professor, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience and MINDLab 
Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University

Gregory Lewis Fricchione 
Professor, Associate Chief of Psychiatry, Director, Division of Psychiatry and Medicine,
Benson‐Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, USA