Effects of mindfulness exercises on symptoms of anxiety and depression

Blanck, P. et al. | Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis| Behaviour Research and Therapy | Vol. 102, March 2018, p. 25-35


mindfulMindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are currently well established in psychotherapy with meta-analyses demonstrating their efficacy. In these multifaceted interventions, the concrete performance of mindfulness exercises is typically integrated in a larger therapeutic framework. Thus, it is unclear whether stand-alone mindfulness exercises (SAMs) without such a framework are beneficial, as well.

Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the effects of SAMs on symptoms of anxiety and depression. Systematic searching of electronic databases resulted in 18 eligible studies (n = 1150) for meta-analyses.

After exclusion of one outlier SAMs had small to medium effects on anxiety and on depression, when compared with controls. Summary effect estimates decreased, but remained significant when corrected for potential publication bias.

This is the first meta-analysis to show that the mere, regular performance of mindfulness exercises is beneficial, even without being integrated in larger therapeutic frameworks.

View full abstract at Science Direct 

Article available to Rotherham NHS staff on request