Attentional control may be modifiable with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Prevent Suicide

Megan S. Chesin, John G. Keilp, Anna Kline, Barbara Stanley, Catherine Myers, Miriam Latorre, Lauren M. St. Hill, Rachael B. Miller, Arlene R. King, Dianna R. Boschulte, Kailyn M. Rodriguez, Michael Callahan, Megan Sedita, Alejandro Interian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To test whether Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Prevent Suicide (MBCT-S) is associated with improvement in attentional control, an objective marker of suicide attempt. Method: In the context of a randomized clinical trial targeting suicide risk in Veterans, computerized Stroop and emotion Stroop (E-Stroop) tasks were administered 3 times over 6-months follow-up to 135 high suicide risk Veterans. Seventy were randomized to receive MBCT-S in addition to enhanced treatment as usual (eTAU), and 65 were randomized to eTAU only. E-Stroop word types included positively- and negatively-valenced emotion, suicide, and combat-related words. Interference scores and mixed effects linear regression analyses were used. Results: Veterans receiving MBCT-S showed a more favorable trajectory of attentional control over time, as indicated by performance on two E-Stroop tasks. Combat-stress interference scores improved over time among Veterans in MBCT-S. Interference processing time for negative affective words deteriorated over time among Veterans receiving eTAU only. Conclusions: MBCT-S may effectively target attentional control, and in particular reduce processing time during affective interference, in high suicide risk Veterans. Future studies to replicate these findings are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103988
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Attentional control
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • Suicide risk
  • Veterans


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