Depression, Anxiety, and Mindfulness-Based Programs

Non-depressed participants with a history of relapsing depression may be protected from relapse by participating in an 8-week course of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  The researchers in the UK examined the effectiveness of MBCT on active symptoms of depression and anxiety in 13 patients with recurrent depression or anxiety (Finucane and Mercer, 2006).  The researchers conducted interviews three months after completing the program. The results of the study showed that mindfulness training was acceptable to most of the patients.

According to the study, practicing in a group was an important experience to many patients (Finucane and Mercer, 2006). More than half of the patients continued the practice even three months after the course was finished. The patients had significant lower scores measuring depression and anxiety, with remarkable improvements in both disorders. The study suggested that mindfulness based cognitive therapy may be beneficial to treat depression and anxiety in primary care.

In addition, a randomized trial done at University of Ottawa in Canada compared the effects of MB Stress Reduction (MBSR) training with a first-line psychological intervention on social anxiety disorder (SAD) (Koszycki et al., 2007). In the study, 53 patients with SAD were randomized and assigned to an 8-week program of MBSR or 12 weekly sessions of cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT).

The study found that both interventions induced improvements in mood, functionality and quality of life (Koszycki et al., 2007). However, the patients receiving CBGT had lower scores of social anxiety, with greater response and remission rates. The study showed that CBGT may have better effects, and confirmed that MBSR may also benefit generalized SAD.


Finucane, A. and Mercer, S. W. (2006) An exploratory mixed methods study of the acceptability and effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for patients with active depression and anxiety in primary care. BMC Psychiatry 6, 14.

Koszycki, D., Benger, M., et al. (2007) Randomized trial of a meditation-based stress reduction program and cognitive behavior therapy in generalized social anxiety disorder. Behav Res Ther 45, 2518-2526.

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