A pilot study of meditation for mental health workers following Hurricane Katrina


  • An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2007.


This pilot study examined the effects of a manualized meditation intervention (called Inner Resources) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety symptoms among 20 African American and Caucasian mental health workers in New Orleans beginning 10 weeks after Hurricane Katrina. They participated in a 4-hour workshop followed by an 8-week home study program. Complete follow-up data were available for 15 participants. Results of intention-to-treat analyses indicated that participants' PTSD and anxiety symptoms significantly decreased over the 8 weeks of the intervention; these improvements were significantly correlated with the total number of minutes of daily meditation practice. The majority of participants reported good treatment adherence and improvements in well-being. These findings suggest that meditation may be a feasible, acceptable, and effective postdisaster intervention.