Individual differences in meditation outcomes

Ivana Buric, Inti A. Brazil, Valerie van Mulukom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Whom does meditation benefit the most? While meditation classes, in particular mindfulness meditation classes, have become increasingly popular and more readily available, their outcomes vary. Some people reap benefits of the classes and become dedicated long-term practitioners, while others see no effect or might even experience adverse effects. If we would be able to distinguish positive responders from null and negative responders based on their individual characteristics, then those who would benefit the most could be targeted, while a different evidence-based technique could be applied to those for whom meditation would be contra-indicated. This personalised approach would not only save resources, but also help prevent harm. Surprisingly, there is no comprehensive study on this topic and only a limited number of studies have included data on how different people respond to meditation. In this chapter, we adopt a multilevel approach to evaluate extant evidence on the relationship between meditation and individual differences across four sources of variability: personality and other psychological variables, biological variables, illness severity in patients, and demographic factors. We identify gaps in current research that should be targeted in future studies and propose a framework for studying individual differences in meditation research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Meditation
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • individual differences
  • meditation
  • mindfulness

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Individual differences in meditation outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Buric, I., Brazil, I. A., & van Mulukom, V. (Accepted/In press). Individual differences in meditation outcomes. In The Oxford Handbook of Meditation (Vol. (In-press), pp. (In-press)). Oxford University Press.