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 


Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Parents of Children with Autism

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently report poor psychological well-being.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of brief mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on perceived stress, anxiety, and depression among parents of children with ASD in Jordan.

After the intervention program, the one-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that parents in the intervention group had better outcomes on the measures of psychological well-being and mindfulness than those in the comparison group (P < 0.01). Furthermore, results of paired samples t test indicated that parents in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in measures of stress, anxiety, depression, and mindfulness scores with medium to large effect size (Cohen d between 0.42 and 0.85, P < 0.01).

Although the comparison group demonstrated small improvement in measures of the dependent variables, these improvements were much less than improvements in the intervention group. The MBIs are culturally adaptable, feasible, and effective interventions to improve psychological well-being in parents of children with ASD.

Full reference: Rayan, A. & Ahmad, M. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Perceived Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Among Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness. 8(677)


The effect of mindfulness group therapy on a broad range of psychiatric symptoms

Sundquist, J. et al. (2017) European Psychiatry. 43(6) pp. 19-27


Background: The need for psychotherapy in primary health care is on the increase but individual-based treatment is costly. The main aim of this randomised controlled trial (RCT) was to compare the effect of mindfulness-based group therapy (MGT) with treatment as usual (TAU), mainly individual-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), on a broad range of psychiatric symptoms in primary care patients diagnosed with depressive, anxiety and/or stress and adjustment disorders. An additional aim was to compare the effect of MGT with TAU on mindful attention awareness.


Conclusions: No significant differences between MGT and TAU, mainly individual-based CBT, were found in treatment effect. Both types of therapies could be used in primary care patients with depressive, anxiety and/or stress and adjustment disorders, where MGT has a potential to save limited resources.

Read the abstract here

Cognitive behavioral and mindfulness-based group sleep improvement intervention for at-risk adolescents

Blake, M. et al. Sleep | Published online: 18 April 2017


Objective: The aim of this study was to test whether a cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based sleep intervention could improve sleep and anxiety on school nights in a group of at-risk adolescents. We also examined whether benefits to sleep and anxiety would be mediated by improvements in sleep hygiene awareness and pre-sleep hyperarousal.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that pre-sleep arousal but not sleep hygiene awareness is important for adolescents’ perceived sleep quality, and could be a target for new treatments of adolescent sleep problems.

Read the abstract here

Mindfulness training can reduce depression and anxiety among nurses

Hunter, L. (2017) BMJ Evidence-based Nursing. 20(2)


Commentary on:

Implications for practice and research:

  • Mindfulness can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety among nurses and may improve patient care.

  • There is a need for future quantitative studies to measure the nurse-perceived benefits of mindfulness identified in qualitative research.

  • Mixed-methods reviews can help develop a more complete and clinically relevant understanding of a given topic.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for anxiety symptoms in older adults in residential care

Helmes, E. & Ward, B.G. (2017) Aging & Mental Health. 21(3) pp. 272-278.

Image source: Moyan Brenn – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Objectives: Anxiety in older people is under-diagnosed and poorly treated despite significant impairments that arise from anxiety. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be a promising treatment for anxiety. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of an MBCT program on anxiety symptoms in older people living in residential care.


Conclusion: This study represents one of the first studies of the effectiveness of an MBCT program on anxiety symptoms for older people using a randomized controlled trial. The study has implications for future research that include the effectiveness of MBCT for the treatment of anxiety symptoms in older people, the utility of group therapy programs in residential care and the benefits of using specialized instruments for older populations.

Read the full abstract here

Group mindfulness for adolescent anxiety

Crowley, M.J. et al. Child and Adolescent Mental Health | Published online 4 March 2017


Background: Group Mindfulness Therapy (GMT) is a program tailored for adolescents that targets anxiety with mindfulness skills including present moment awareness, mindfulness in everyday life (breathing, eating, walking), body scan, loving-kindness, and self-acceptance. Youth with anxiety may benefit from mindfulness exercises precisely because they learn to redirect their mind, and presumably their attention, away from wandering in the direction of worry and negative self-appraisals and toward greater acceptance of internal states. This open trial assessed the feasibility and initial effectiveness of GMT in a school setting.

Conclusions: We demonstrate that GMT is feasible and acceptable to adolescents presenting with anxiety as a primary concern. We provide further support for the use of a mindfulness-based intervention for anxiety reduction. The group format suggests a cost-effective way to deliver services in a school setting.

Read the full abstract here