Improving psychological symptoms of depression and stress in people with diabetes

Pearson, S., Wills, K., Woods, M. et al. Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Distress and HbA1c in People with Diabetes. Mindfulness (2018).

Abstract (excerpt). Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent chronic condition that is associated with a high degree of psychological distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel approach to delivering an intervention of mindfulness practice (IMP) to a patient population with a demonstrated need for psychological support.

The novel approach utilised a self-directed audio compact disc (CD) recording of mindfulness practice. In this randomised controlled trial, 67 participants with T2DM (mean age = 59.4), attending outpatient clinics, were randomised to an IMP (n = 31) or a control (n = 36) group.

Participants receiving the IMP reported significant reductions in depression and stress when compared with the control group. At the 12-week follow-up, there was an overall reduction in depression and stress in the IMP group relative to the control group.

The current study has shown that an easily accessible self-directed IMP was effective in improving psychological symptoms of depression and stress.

*IMP = intervention of mindfulness practice


Mindfulness-based psycho-education for people with schizophrenia

Chien, W., Bressington, D., Yip, A., & Karatzias, T. (2017). An international multi-site, randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based psychoeducation group programme for people with schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 47(12), 2081-2096. doi:10.1017/S0033291717000526. Full access. 

From the Abstract. Compared with treatment as usual (TAU) and conventional psychoeducation group (CPEG0), mindfulness-based psychoeducation group (MBPEG) improves remission and hospitalization rates of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders over 24 months.


Mindfulness and ADHD

Hoxhaj, E., et al., (2018). Mindfulness vs psychoeducation in adult ADHD: a randomized controlled trial. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 1-15. Summary and References

From the Abstract:

BACKGROUND. Mindfulness training is a promising treatment approach in adult ADHD. However, there has not yet been a randomized controlled trial comparing mindfulness to an active control condition. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of a mindfulness training program (MAP) compared to structured psychoeducation (PE).

CONCLUSIONS. In the current study, MAP was not superior to PE regarding symptom reduction in adult ADHD. Both interventions, mindfulness meditation and PE, were efficacious in reducing symptom load in adult ADHD. Furthermore in exploratory post hoc tests the study provides evidence for a potential gender-specific treatment response in adult ADHD.

Online mindfulness-based intervention: feasibility and effectiveness

Cavanagh, K., et al. “A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Brief Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention in a Non-clinical Population: Replication and Extension.” Mindfulness, 2018, online, Full text

From the Abstract. Building on previous research, this study compared the effects of two brief, online mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs; with and without formal meditation practice) and a no intervention control group in a non-clinical sample.

One hundred and fifty-five university staff and students were randomly allocated to a 2-week, self-guided, online MBI with or without mindfulness meditation practice, or a wait list control. Measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, perseverative thinking and anxiety/depression symptoms within were administered before and after the intervention period. Intention to treat analysis identified significant differences between groups on change over time for all measured outcomes.

… Change in perseverative thinking was found to mediate the relationship between condition and improvement on perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptom outcomes. Contrary to our hypotheses, no differences between the intervention conditions were found. Limitations of the study included reliance on self-report data, a relatively high attrition rate and absence of a longer-term follow-up.

This study provides evidence in support of the feasibility and effectiveness of brief, self-guided MBIs in a non-clinical population and suggests that reduced perseverative thinking may be a mechanism of change. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of a mindfulness psychoeducation condition, without an invitation to formal mindfulness meditation practice. Further research is needed to confirm and better understand these results and to test the potential of such interventions.

Regulating eating behavior

Duarte, Cristiana, José Pinto‐Gouveia, and R. James Stubbs. “Compassionate Attention and Regulation of Eating Behaviour: A pilot study of a brief low‐intensity intervention for binge eating.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 2017, doi: 10.1002/cpp.2094, online 13 Jun 2017.

Abstract. A low-intensity 4-week intervention that included components of compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance was delivered to women diagnosed with binge eating disorder. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: intervention (n = 11) or waiting list control (n = 9).

Participants in the intervention condition were invited to practise mindfulness, soothing rhythm breathing, and compassionate imagery practices with a focus on awareness and acceptance of emotional states and triggers to binge eating and engagement in helpful actions.

Results revealed that, in the intervention group, there were significant reductions in eating psychopathology symptoms, binge eating symptoms, self-criticism, and indicators of psychological distress; there were significant increases in compassionate actions and body image-related psychological flexibility. Data suggest that developing compassion and acceptance competencies may improve eating behaviour and psychological well-being in individuals with binge eating disorder.

Enhances body image in breast cancer patients

Pintado, Sheila, and Sandra Andrade. “Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness program to enhance body image in patients with breast cancer.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine, online June 1, 2017,

Introduction. Breast cancer affects the thoughts and emotions related to patient’s body image and it has a negative impact in their quality of life. The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial in patients with breast cancer comparing mindfulness training to improve body image with a program based on personal image advice.

Method. A total of 29 women with breast cancer were randomly allocated into one of 2 groups: an experimental (mindfulness program) and control (personal image advice) group. The assessment tools were semi-structured interviews and the BIS and SBC questionnaires. Data was analyzed using quantitative techniques.

Results. The mindfulness program was effective in decreasing negative thoughts and emotions related to body image and dissociation (p < .01), and in increasing positive thoughts and body awareness (p<.01). Moreover, there were significant differences in body image between control and experimental group (F(1,28) = 12.616; p<.01; ηp2=.335).

Conclusion. The mindfulness program was useful in improving psychological and emotional changes related to body image in breast cancer patients. Changes in body image are a key component in the treatment of breast cancer patients with the ability to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Mindfulness and insomnia (zzzzz)

Ong, Jason C., and Christine E. Smith. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, first online 2017, pp. 1-9, doi:10.1007/s40675-017-0068-1. [See also:

Abstract. The goal of this review is to provide an update on the use of mindfulness meditation for the treatment of insomnia, including conceptual models and empirical evidence from randomized controlled trials.

A metacognitive model of insomnia has been proposed as a conceptual model to explain the application of mindfulness principles for reducing insomnia-related arousal. Furthermore, the evidence base for mindfulness-based therapies has grown with the results of several randomized controlled trials published in the past 3 years. Treatment effects appear to be strongest on self-report measures compared to objective measures of sleep.

Treatment programs featuring mindfulness meditation appear to be viable treatment options for people with insomnia. Further research is needed to determine who is likely to benefit from mindfulness-based therapies and how these interventions work. Additionally, further work is needed to resolve issues related to the delivery and implementation of mindfulness-based therapies.