The role of dispositional mindfulness in a stress-health pathway among Parkinson's disease patients and caregiving partners.
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PURPOSE: Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and their caregivers experience significant distress that impacts physical, emotional and social functioning in the patient, and in turn, has a significant impact on the caregiver. Lower levels of stress have been associated with a better prognosis in PD. The quality of dispositional mindfulness-innate present moment, non-judgmental awareness-has consistently been associated with less perceived stress, greater well-being, and better physical health in both clinical and healthy populations. To date, associations of mindfulness with distress, depression, sleep problems, and other variables that define health-related quality of life have not been examined in the context of PD patient/caregiver dyads. METHODS: We investigated the impact of dispositional mindfulness in a stress-health model among eighteen dyads consisting of PD patients and their caregivers. RESULTS: Multilevel linear modeling (actor-partner interdependence models) revealed significant associations between dispositional mindfulness and stress appraisal, interpersonal support, depressive symptoms, sleep, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) within both dyadic partners. As expected, results demonstrated significant associations of distress with interpersonal support, depressive symptoms, sleep and HRQOL for both PD patients and caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: Dispositional mindfulness was associated with reduced distress and its downstream clinical consequences. These results support an ameliorative role for dispositional mindfulness among PD patients and caregivers, as a protective factor against psychosocial burdens imposed on couples related to disease and caregiving. Findings suggest future studies should explore mindfulness training as a therapeutic option.