Date of Conferral
Dr. Ruth Crocker
Many people in the United States suffer from substance dependence, which leads to depression, anxiety, work impairment, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, crime, and health care problems. Mindfulness meditation has been applied in many aspects of mental health treatment and all belief systems. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore substance dependents' experiences related to their mindfulness meditation practice of at least 6 months and up to 3 years. A constructivist conceptual framework, which states that human beings create systems for understanding reality based on their individual beliefs, emotions, and interpretations, was used for this study. Research questions focused on 4 themes: (a) substance dependents' experiences of cravings, (b) their experiences of emotional states or feelings, (c) their experiences of their behavioral actions, and (d) their explanations about the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques. Data were collected from in-depth interviews with 12 volunteer participants from a public meditation center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and they were analyzed using Moustakas' transcendental phenomenology framework. According to study results, positive social change may occur through increased understanding of varied emotional and behavioral states experienced by substance dependents as they strive for sobriety using mindfulness meditation techniques.