Würtzen, H., Dalton, S.O., Elsass, P., Sumbundu, A.D., Steding-Jensen, M., Karlsen, R.V., . . . Johansen, C. (2013). Mindfulness significantly reduces self-reported levels of anxiety and depression: Results of a randomised controlled trial among 336 Danish women treated for stage I–III breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer 49,1365–1373.doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.10.030
To test, in a randomized controlled study, the effect of a structured eight-week group mindfulness-based stress-reduction program on anxiety and depression among women with breast cancer
The mindfulness-based stress-reduction program consisted of eight weekly two-hour group sessions. The program included guided meditation, yoga and psychoeducational advice on stress and stress reactions, and group dialog about the integration of mindfulness practice into daily life. Three experienced clinical psychologists provided the program. The control group received usual care. Data were collected before randomization and at 6 and 12 months after the intervention.
A randomized controlled trial design was used.
The mindfulness-based stress-reduction program was effective in reducing anxiety and depression over time in the patients studied. The intervention was most effective for those who had higher levels of anxiety and depression at baseline.
The intervention appears to be effective. It does, however, require that the facilitator receive special training, which is an extra cost, and the intervention may be difficult to implement in the practice setting. The study does not address whether the effectiveness of the intervention varies with phase of care. As with other types of intervention, the mindfulness-based stress-reduction program appeared to be most effective for patients who had higher levels of anxiety and depression at the beginning of treatment, suggesting that appropriate patient selection for such an intervention can be beneficial. This study was limited by the lack of attentional control; providing attention alone may positively affect the anxiety and depression of patients with cancer.