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As mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) becomes an increasingly mainstream approach for recurrent depression, there is a growing need for practitioners who are able to teach MBCT. The requirements for being competent as a mindfulness-based teacher include personal meditation practice and at least a year of additional professional training. This study is the first to investigate the relationship between MBCT teacher competence and several key dimensions of MBCT treatment outcomes. Patients with recurrent depression in remission (N = 241) participated in a multi-centre trial of MBCT, provided by 15 teachers. Teacher competence was assessed using the Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI:TAC) based on two to four randomly selected video-recorded sessions of each of the 15 teachers, evaluated by 16 trained assessors. Results showed that teacher competence was not significantly associated with adherence (number of MBCT sessions attended), possible mechanisms of change (rumination, cognitive reactivity, mindfulness, and self-compassion), or key outcomes (depressive symptoms at post treatment and depressive relapse/recurrence during the 15-month follow-up). Thus, findings from the current study indicate no robust effects of teacher competence, as measured by the MBI:TAC, on possible mediators and outcome variables in MBCT for recurrent depression. Possible explanations are the standardized delivery of MBCT, the strong emphasis on self-reliance within the MBCT learning process, the importance of participant-related factors, the difficulties in assessing teacher competence, the absence of main treatment effects in terms of reducing depressive symptoms, and the relatively small selection of videotapes. Further work is required to systematically investigate these explanations.

BACKGROUND:Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) both reduce the risk of relapse in recurrent depression, but their combination has not been studied. AIMS: To investigate whether MBCT with discontinuation of mADM is non-inferior to MBCT+mADM. METHOD: A multicentre randomised controlled non-inferiority trial (ClinicalTrials.gov:NCT00928980). Adults with recurrent depression in remission, using mADM for 6 months or longer (n= 249), were randomly allocated to either discontinue (n= 128) or continue (n= 121) mADM after MBCT. The primary outcome was depressive relapse/recurrence within 15 months. A confidence interval approach with a margin of 25% was used to test non-inferiority. Key secondary outcomes were time to relapse/recurrence and depression severity. RESULTS: The difference in relapse/recurrence rates exceeded the non-inferiority margin and time to relapse/recurrence was significantly shorter after discontinuation of mADM. There were only minor differences in depression severity. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest an increased risk of relapse/recurrence in patients withdrawing from mADM after MBCT.

BACKGROUND:Depression is a common psychiatric disorder characterized by a high rate of relapse and recurrence. The most commonly used strategy to prevent relapse/recurrence is maintenance treatment with antidepressant medication (mADM). Recently, it has been shown that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is at least as effective as mADM in reducing the relapse/recurrence risk. However, it is not yet known whether combination treatment of MBCT and mADM is more effective than either of these treatments alone. Given the fact that most patients have a preference for either mADM or for MBCT, the aim of the present study is to answer the following questions. First, what is the effectiveness of MBCT in addition to mADM? Second, how large is the risk of relapse/recurrence in patients withdrawing from mADM after participating in MBCT, compared to those who continue to use mADM after MBCT? METHODS/DESIGN: Two parallel-group, multi-center randomized controlled trials are conducted. Adult patients with a history of depression (3 or more episodes), currently either in full or partial remission and currently treated with mADM (6 months or longer) are recruited. In the first trial, we compare mADM on its own with mADM plus MBCT. In the second trial, we compare MBCT on its own, including tapering of mADM, with mADM plus MBCT. Follow-up assessments are administered at 3-month intervals for 15 months. Primary outcome is relapse/recurrence. Secondary outcomes are time to, duration and severity of relapse/recurrence, quality of life, personality, several process variables, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. DISCUSSION: Taking into account patient preferences, this study will provide information about a) the clinical and cost-effectiveness of mADM only compared with mADM plus MBCT, in patients with a preference for mADM, and b) the clinical and cost-effectiveness of withdrawing from mADM after MBCT, compared with mADM plus MBCT, in patients with a preference for MBCT.