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Mindfulness Helps Most with Severe Anxiety & Depression

23 Aug

Researchers from Boston University conducted an effect size analysis of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) for anxiety and mood symptoms in clinical samples. The meta-analysis was based on 39 studies totaling 1,140 participants receiving mindfulness-based therapy for a range of conditions, including cancer, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and other psychiatric or medical conditions.
 
Effect size estimates suggest that mindfulness-based therapy was moderately effective for improving anxiety (Hedges's g = 0.63) and mood symptoms (Hedges's g = 0.59) from pre- to posttreatment in the overall sample.

In patients with anxiety and mood disorders, this intervention was associated with effect sizes (Hedges's g) of 0.97 and 0.95 for improving anxiety and mood symptoms, respectively. These effect sizes were robust, were unrelated to publication year or number of treatment sessions, and were maintained over follow-up.

The investigators conclude that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations, and the more severe the condition, the more it helps.
 
Citation:  Hofmann SG, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, Oh D. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic reviewJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.  2010 Apr ;78 (2): pages 169-83. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award