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, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0856-1. 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.

Decreases psychological stress response in breast cancer patients

Kang, G., & Oh, S. (2012). Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Program on Perceived Stress, Ways of Coping, and Stress Response in Breast Cancer Patients. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 42(2), 161-170. [Abstract].

Purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the Mindfulness Meditation program on perceived stress, ways of coping, salivary cortisol level, and psychological stress response in patients with breast cancer.

This was a quasi-experimental study with a non-equivalent control group pre-post test design. Participants in this study were 50 patients who had completed breast cancer treatment (experimental group, 25, control group, 25). The experimental group received the Mindfulness Meditation program for 3 hours/session/ week for 8 weeks.

The experimental group had significantly lower scores for perceived stress, emotional focused coping, salivary cortisol level, and psychological stress response compared to the control group. However, no significant differences were found between two groups for the scores on problem focused stress coping.

Conclusion. According to the results, the Mindfulness Meditation program was useful for decreasing perceived stress, emotional focused coping, salivary cortisol level, and psychological stress response. Therefore, this program is an effective nursing intervention to decrease stress in patients with breast cancer.

Reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease.

Parswani, M. J., Sharma, M. P., & Iyengar, S. S. (2013). Mindfulness-based stress reduction program in coronary heart disease: A randomized control trial. International Journal of Yoga, 6(2), 111. Full text.

From the Abstract: Psychological risk factors such as anxiety and depression have been associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). Stress can have an impact on the risk factors for the disease, such as high blood pressure (BP), physical inactivity and being overweight.

Thirty male patients, age range (30-65 years) with CHD were randomly allocated to either [treatment and control] group. The therapeutic program comprised eight weekly sessions of structured MBSR intervention for the MBSR group and one health education session for the [control] group. Regular medical intervention and monthly consultations with the cardiologist were consistent for both groups.

All patients completed intervention in the MBSR group. Significant reduction was observed in symptoms of anxiety and depression, perceived stress, BP and BMI in patients of the MBSR group after the completion of intervention assessment. At 3-month follow-up, therapeutic gains were maintained in patients of the MBSR group.