School-Based Mindfulness Program and Depression in Adolescents

This study examined moderators of the effects of a universal school-based mindfulness program on adolescents’ depressive symptoms.

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Based on theory and previous research, we identified the following potential moderators:

  1. severity of symptoms of depression at baseline
  2. gender
  3. age
  4. school track.

The study uses a pooled dataset from two consecutive randomized controlled trials in adolescents (13–18 years) in secondary schools in Belgium.

We found no moderation effects of gender, age, and school track. Six months after the training, we found a marginally significant moderation effect for severity of symptoms of depression at baseline with greater decrease in symptoms for students with high levels of depression. The general absence of differential intervention effects for gender, age, and school track supports the broad scope of the school-based mindfulness group intervention.

Full reference: der Gucht, K.V. et al. (2017) Potential Moderators of the Effects of a School-Based Mindfulness Program on Symptoms of Depression in Adolescents. Mindfulness. 8(797)

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Workplace Mindfulness Program for Public Sector Employees

Mindfulness training appears to reduce stress and distress, but little is known about whether its appropriateness as a workplace stress management intervention for a large and distributed public sector workforce.

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This study evaluated a pilot 5-week Mindfulness at Work Program (MaWP) for acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy in relation to stress and related mental health and productivity problems for public sector employees.

The intervention thus appears to have potential merit as a workplace intervention for public sector employees across a range of outcomes. Obtaining informant observations was feasible and while qualitative analyses indicated positive changes that supported self-reported outcomes, quantitative analyses returned ambiguous results. A seven-item scale adapted from a popular self-report mindfulness scale for use by informants showed promise, but further work is needed to establish validity, reliability, and scalability of this method of assessing observable changes following mindfulness training.

Full reference: Bartlett, L. et al. (2017) Acceptability, Feasibility, and Efficacy of a Workplace Mindfulness Program for Public Sector Employees: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial with Informant Reports. Mindfulness. 8(639)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Bibliotherapy

This randomized controlled investigation examined the effectiveness of a self-help bibliotherapy format of the evidence-based mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention.

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College students seeking stress reduction were randomly assigned to a 10-week MBSR bibliotherapy intervention group (n = 47) or a no-treatment control group (n = 45). Self-report measures were collected at baseline and postintervention.

This MBSR workbook may provide an acceptable and effective alternative for motivated individuals seeking to reduce stress, at least for a select group of individuals who are willing and able to sustain participation in the intervention.

Full reference: Hazlett-Stevens, H. & Oren, Y. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Bibliotherapy: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 73,(6) PP. 626–637

Mindfulness and pain in knee osteoarthritis

Previous studies suggest that higher mindfulness is associated with less pain and depression. However, the role of mindfulness has never been studied in knee osteoarthritis (OA)

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Method: We performed a secondary analysis of baseline data from our randomized comparative trial in participants with knee OA. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). We measured pain, physical function, quality of life, depression, stress, and self-efficacy with commonly-used patient-reported measures. Simple and multivariable regression models were utilized to assess associations between mindfulness and health outcomes. We further tested whether mindfulness moderated the pain-psychological outcome associations.

Conclusion: Mindfulness is associated with depression, stress, self-efficacy, and quality of life among knee OA patients. Mindfulness also moderates the influence of pain on stress, which suggests that mindfulness may alter the way one copes with pain. Future studies examining the benefits of mind-body therapy, designed to increase mindfulness, for patients with OA are warranted.

Full reference: Lee, A et al. (2017) Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates pain in knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 25(6) pp. 824-831

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

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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

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.

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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

Does mindfulness offer any benefit to cancer patients?

A new Australian study of men with advanced prostate cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests mindfulness training offers no benefit in this particular setting | The Conversation

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Image source: Carol Del Angel – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In cancer, mindfulness-based therapies are often suggested as a supportive care option for patients. Mindfulness as the core component of these two approaches centres around teaching open awareness of the present experience and a focus on behaviour.

The behaviour element encourages the individual to conduct self observation of habits, and to become less reactive to difficult or unpleasant experiences. This is proposed to create a sense of calmness and composure – often referred to as equanimity – about the illness experience.

While mindfulness approaches intuitively seem well matched to the cancer context, to date the research in this area has been limited by variable study quality and a focus on breast cancer patients.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here