Does mindfulness meditation improve anxiety and mood symptoms? A review of the controlled research.
Can J Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;52(4):260-6
Authors: Toneatto T, Nguyen L
OBJECTIVE: To review the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on symptoms of anxiety and depression in a range of clinical populations. METHOD: Our review included any study that was published in a peer-reviewed journal, used a control group, and reported outcomes related to changes in depression and anxiety. We extracted the following key variables from each of the 15 studies identified: anxiety or depression outcomes after the MBSR program, measurement of compliance with MBSR instructions, type of control group included, type of clinical population studied, and length of follow-up. We also summarized modifications to the MBSR program. RESULTS: Measures of depression and anxiety were included as outcome variables for a broad range of medical and emotional disorders. Evidence for a beneficial effect of MBSR on depression and anxiety was equivocal. When active control groups were used, MBSR did not show an effect on depression and anxiety. Adherence to the MBSR program was infrequently assessed. Where it was assessed, the relation between practising mindfulness and changes in depression and anxiety was equivocal. CONCLUSIONS: MBSR does not have a reliable effect on depression and anxiety.