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The Role of Religion for Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Implications for Dissemination and Implementation

  • Roman PalitskyEmail author
  • Deanna M. Kaplan


Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly recognized for their efficacy in clinical settings. Because of the historical and social associations of mindfulness-based interventions with spirituality and religion, individual differences in religiosity are likely to play a role in how people perceive these interventions and may ultimately impact the acceptability and implementation of mindfulness-based techniques. Mindfulness-based interventions’ religious associations are often left unspecified, but when they are stated, they are typically represented as either (1) secular and neutral to religious concerns or as (2) religiously influenced. Dichotomously presenting MBIs as either religious or secular can undermine the delivery of these interventions, as can failing to address religion or spirituality altogether. We present theory and research that explicates the likely ways in which religion influences the acceptability of mindfulness-based interventions and provide recommendations for researchers and interventionists that enable them to respond to religious concerns about mindfulness-based interventions.


Mindfulness-based interventions Religion Pluralism Implementation Dissemination Culture 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Daniel Sullivan, Dr. Matthias Mehl, Dr. David Sbarra, Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor, and members of the Arizona Meditation Research Interest Group (AMRIG) for providing instrumental feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors would also like to thank Drs. Fran and Tim Orrok for their support of this research.

Author Contributions

The ideas and writing of this manuscript were collaboratively developed through dialogue and revisions by the two authors. R.P. originated and organized the scope of the project, conducted literature review, organized the writing, and wrote sections of this manuscript. D. M. K developed ideas in, and wrote sections of, the manuscript and conducted literature review. Both authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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