Objective: The efficacy and acceptability of existing psychological interventions for health anxiety (hypochondriasis) are limited. In the current study, the authors aimed to assess the impact of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on health anxiety by comparing the impact of MBCT in addition to usual services (unrestricted services) with unrestricted services (US) alone. Method: The 74 participants were randomized to either MBCT in addition to US (n = 36) or US alone (n = 38). Participants were assessed prior to intervention (MBCT or US), immediately following the intervention, and 1 year postintervention. In addition to independent assessments of diagnostic status, standardized self-report measures and assessor ratings of severity and distress associated with the diagnosis of hypochondriasis were used. Results: In the intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis (N = 74), MBCT participants had significantly lower health anxiety than US participants, both immediately following the intervention (Cohen's d = 0.48) and at 1-year follow-up (d = 0.48). The per-protocol (PP) analysis (n = 68) between groups effect size was d = 0.49 at postintervention and d = 0.62 at 1-year follow-up. Mediational analysis showed that change in mindfulness mediated the group changes in health anxiety symptoms. Significantly fewer participants allocated to MBCT than to US met criteria for the diagnosis of hypochondriasis, both immediately following the intervention period (ITT 50.0% vs. 78.9%; PP 47.1% vs. 78.4%) and at 1-year follow-up (ITT 36.1% vs. 76.3%; PP 28.1% vs. 75.0%). Conclusions: MBCT may be a useful addition to usual services for patients with health anxiety.
Recurrent distressing intrusive images are a common experience in hypochondriasis. The aim of the current study was to assess the impact of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for hypochondriasis on the occurrence and nature of distressing intrusive imagery in hypochondriasis. A semistructured interview was used to assess intrusive imagery, and an adapted version of the Southampton Mindfulness Questionnaire (SMQ) was used to assess participants’ relationship with their intrusive images. A consecutive series of participants (N = 20) who were receiving MBCT for hypochondriasis as part of an ongoing research program were assessed prior to participating in an 8-week MBCT intervention, immediately following the intervention, and at 3-month follow-up. As compared to the baseline assessment, the frequency of intrusive images, the distress associated with them, and the intrusiveness of the images were all significantly reduced at the post-MBCT assessment. Participants’ adapted SMQ scores were significantly increased following the MBCT intervention, suggesting that participants’ relationship with their intrusive images had changed in that they had developed a more “mindful” and compassionate response to the images when they did occur. Effect sizes from pre- to post-intervention were medium to large (Cohen’s d = 0.75–1.50). All treatment gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Results suggest that MBCT may be an effective intervention for addressing intrusive imagery in hypochondriasis.
Using a cross-sectional design, we examined the relationship between naturally occurring levels of mindfulness and rumination in students (n = 164). As predicted, we found that, when controlling for current depressive symptoms and prior history of depression, mindfulness was significantly negatively correlated with rumination, but it was only associated with the extent to which rumination was experienced as uncontrollable, not with global levels of rumination. Furthermore, mindfulness moderated the relationship between global levels of rumination and uncontrollability of rumination, consistent with the suggestion that high dispositional mindfulness reduces the extent to which ruminative reactions tend to escalate into self-perpetuating and uncontrollable ruminative cycles.
Our objective was to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of a group mindfulness program aimed at reducing and preventing depression in an adolescent school-based population. For each of 12 pairs of parallel classes with students (age range 13–20) from five schools (N = 408), one class was randomly assigned to the mindfulness condition and one class to the control condition. Students in the mindfulness group completed depression assessments (the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales) prior to and immediately following the intervention and 6 months after the intervention. Control students completed the questionnaire at the same times as those in the mindfulness group. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that the mindfulness intervention showed significantly greater reductions (and greater clinically significant change) in depression compared with the control group at the 6-month follow-up. Cohen's d was medium sized (>.30) for both the pre-to-post and pre-to-follow-up effect for depressive symptoms in the mindfulness condition. The findings suggest that school-based mindfulness programs can help to reduce and prevent depression in adolescents.
BackgroundDepression is often a chronic relapsing condition, with relapse rates of 50-80% in those who have been depressed before. This is particularly problematic for those who become suicidal when depressed since habitual recurrence of suicidal thoughts increases likelihood of further acute suicidal episodes. Therefore the question how to prevent relapse is of particular urgency in this group. Methods/Design This trial compares Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a novel form of treatment combining mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy for depression, with both Cognitive Psycho-Education (CPE), an equally plausible cognitive treatment but without meditation, and treatment as usual (TAU). It will test whether MBCT reduces the risk of relapse in recurrently depressed patients and the incidence of suicidal symptoms in those with a history of suicidality who do relapse. It recruits participants, screens them by telephone for main inclusion and exclusion criteria and, if they are eligible, invites them to a pre-treatment session to assess eligibility in more detail. This trial allocates eligible participants at random between MBCT and TAU, CPE and TAU, and TAU alone in a ratio of 2:2:1, stratified by presence of suicidal ideation or behaviour and current anti-depressant use. We aim to recruit sufficient participants to allow for retention of 300 following attrition. We deliver both active treatments in groups meeting for two hours every week for eight weeks. We shall estimate effects on rates of relapse and suicidal symptoms over 12 months following treatment and assess clinical status immediately after treatment, and three, six, nine and twelve months thereafter. Discussion This will be the first trial of MBCT to investigate whether MCBT is effective in preventing relapse to depression when compared with a control psychological treatment of equal plausibility; and to explore the use of MBCT for the most severe recurrent depression - that in people who become suicidal when depressed.
Several randomised controlled trials suggest that mindfulness-based approaches are helpful in preventing depressive relapse and recurrence, and the UK Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended these interventions for use in the National Health Service. There are good grounds to suggest that mindfulness-based approaches are also helpful with anxiety disorders and a range of chronic physical health problems, and there is much clinical and research interest in applying mindfulness approaches to other populations and problems such as people with personality disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders. We review the UK context for developments in mindfulness-based approaches and set out criteria for mindfulness teacher competence and training steps, as well as some of the challenges and future directions that can be anticipated in ensuring that evidence-based mindfulness approaches are available in health care and other settings.
Mindfulness has been suggested to be an important protective factor for emotional health. However, this effect might vary with regard to context. This study applied a novel statistical approach, quantile regression, in order to investigate the relation between trait mindfulness and residual depressive symptoms in individuals with a history of recurrent depression, while taking into account symptom severity and number of episodes as contextual factors. Rather than fitting to a single indicator of central tendency, quantile regression allows exploration of relations across the entire range of the response variable. Analysis of self-report data from 274 participants with a history of three or more previous episodes of depression showed that relatively higher levels of mindfulness were associated with relatively lower levels of residual depressive symptoms. This relationship was most pronounced near the upper end of the response distribution and moderated by the number of previous episodes of depression at the higher quantiles. The findings suggest that with lower levels of mindfulness, residual symptoms are less constrained and more likely to be influenced by other factors. Further, the limiting effect of mindfulness on residual symptoms is most salient in those with higher numbers of episodes.