Critical Analysis of Research

The article by Hoge et al. (2018) explores the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on biological acute stress responses in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) patients. Mindfulness-based therapy focuses on the patients’ bodily sensations caused by anxiety and encouraging them to pay attention and appreciate their present feelings and thought without judging them. The aim of this approach, according to the article, is to improve the patients’ resilience to stress. The adoption of Mindfulness-Based interventions in anxiety treatment has increased in acceptance over the recent pasts, according to the researchers, but randomized and controlled trials are necessary to authenticate the waitlist-controlled findings and further confirm its biological impacts.

Inclusion criteria or patients included in this study were individuals with GAD and are aged eighteen years and above. The study population was determined by the Structured Clinical Interview for the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV” (SCID) and were randomized to either modified group “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)” or group SME. The exclusion criteria, on the on hand, involved a history of psychotic disorders, organic medical disorder, intellectual disabilities, bipolar disorders, current substance or alcohol abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and parallel psychotherapy for GAD. The researchers also excluded individuals currently under antidepressant medications and benzodiazepines. The exclusion of this group is based on research evidence showing the likelihood of them altering the hormonal response during the TSST “(Trier social stress test).”


The research somehow displayed a biased operationalization of terms in the sense that the researchers primarily focused on how the concepts are measured but not what concepts mean. In other words, the research focused on operational definition while neglecting the conceptualized definition of the study concepts.  In an ideal operationalization of study terminologies, both operational and conceptual definitions are essential for research to target both lay and experts in the field entirely. The conceptual definition tells the readers the meaning of the concept, while the operational definition tells you how it is measured. For instance, the article stipulates how Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and several other terms will be measured but not what they mean. The researcher ought to have included a list of terminologies used in the study and meanings to satisfy the conceptual definition as an element in the operationalization of study terms. However, the researchers did well on the follow up for all tests done, particularly on the TSST. Before the commencement of the therapy class and after the standard questionnaire measurements, the research participants completed a TSST and other blood testings. They return to the lab after eight weeks for another TSST to confirm the previous outcomes.  

The questions this article leaves me with is how the authors concluded on the impact of mindfulness on biological stress reactivity for GAP patients. This question arises because the authors admitted that the sample size used was relatively small, and several exclusions made it challenging to generalize the findings. One requirement of a research paper is objectivity, what the research aims to achieve. The sample size is one key aspect in making a compressive conclusion about the findings and must not be ignored. The authors’ submission may make the readers, including me, to question the validity of the findings.

Conclusively, the research methods and findings provide an insight into understanding the impact of mindfulness-based interventions in treating biological acute stress responses in GAD patients. The findings justify the claim that encouraging the patients to mediate and appreciate their present feelings and thoughts without judging them can boost resilience to stress disorders. The readers also get to understand the various TSST procedures necessary during mindfulness-based interventions, which are helpful for further research.