Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, is one of the most catastrophic but inevitable events in life. It causes grief and intense depression-like sadness. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness and proficiency of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in emotional regulation among bereavement populations. MBCT improves the well-being of the bereaved by enhancing cognitive performances. Regarding the neural correlates of bereavement grief, previous studies focused on the alleviation of emotion–cognition interferences at specific brain regions. Here, we hypothesized that the bereavement grief fundamentally triggers global alterations in the resting-state brain networks and part of the internetwork connectivity could be reformed after MBCT intervention. We recruited 19 bereaved individuals who participated the 8-week MBCT program. We evaluated (a) the large-scale changes in brain connectivity affected by the MBCT program; as well as (b) the association between connectivity changes and self-rated questionnaire. First, after MBCT, the bereaved individuals showed the reduction of the internetwork connectivity in the salience, default-mode and fronto-parietal networks in the resting state but not under emotional arousal, implying the alleviated attention to spontaneous mind wandering after MBCT. Second, the alterations of functional connectivity between subcortical (e.g., caudate) and cortical networks (e.g., cingulo-opercular/sensorimotor) were associated with the changes of the mindfulness scale, the anxiety and the emotion regulation ability. In summary, MBCT could enhance spontaneous emotion regulation among the bereaved individuals through the internetwork reorganizations in the resting state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology