What is it about?

We used a community advisory board and focus groups to refine and adapt Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to help address co-occurring PTSD and substance use in unhoused women. MBSR is typically an 8-week, 9 session intervention that teaches mindfulness skills through meditations, yoga, body scans, and class discussions. Our findings suggested MBSR may be helpful for unhoused women with PTSD and substance use. Quantitative findings revealed high acceptability and feasibility; qualitative results provided further insights and recommendations to guide population-specific implementation.

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Why is it important?

Co-occurring PTSD and substance use help fuel a cycle of trauma-exposure, homelessness, and incarceration in individuals experiencing high health disparities. Improving mental health resources is a critical component of breaking this cycle. MBSR may provide a low-cost addition to other community-based mental health services.


Qualitative findings emphasized the importance of engaging the community in the process of both research and treatment. Trainers should embody passion, compassion, and empathy without any judgment regarding the circumstances of the participants. A trauma-sensitive approach is also recommended. Future efficacy trials could further support the value of MBSR for women experiencing trauma, substance use, and high health disparities.

Dana Rose Garfin
University of California Los Angeles

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adaptation of a mindfulness-based intervention for trauma-exposed, unhoused women with substance use disorder., Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy, June 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/tra0001486.
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