Symposium Summary 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Loving-Kindness Meditation Slows Biological Aging in Novices: Evidence from a 12-week Randomized Controlled Trial. (#175)

Barbara L Fredrickson 1 , Khoa D Le Nguyen 1 , Jue Lin 2
  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  2. Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States

Combinations of multiple meditation practices have reduced telomere length (TL) attrition (Carson et al., 2015). We probe the distinct effect on TL changes of mindfulness meditation (MM) and loving-kindness meditation (LKM). Midlife adults (N = 142) were randomized to be in a waitlist control condition or to learn either MM or LKM in a 6 week-workshop. Telomere length was assessed 2 weeks before the start of the workshop and 3 weeks after its termination. After controlling for demographic covariates and baseline TL, we found TL decreased significantly in the MM (B = -.60, p < .001) and control group (B = -.081, p < .001), but not in the LKM group (B = -.028, p =.088). There was significantly less TL attrition in the LKM group than the control group (B = .047, p = .026). The MM group showed changes in TL that were intermediate between the LKM and control groups and was not significantly different from either the LKM (B = -.029, p = .171) or control group (B = .019, p = .323). This study is the first to disentangle the effect of LKM and MM on TL, and suggests that LKM may buffer telomere attrition.