A Sample of MBSR Abstracts

MBSR and Chronic Pain

Kabat-Zinn. J., An out-patient program in Behavioral Medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry (1982) 4:33-47.

Abstract: The practice of mindfulness meditation was used in a 10-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program to train chronic pain patients in self-regulation. The meditation facilitates an attentional stance towards proprioception known as detached observation. This appears to cause an “uncoupling” of the sensory dimension of the pain experience from the affective/evaluative alarm reaction and reduce the experience of suffering via cognitive reappraisal.

 Data are presented on 51 chronic pain patients who had not improved with traditional medical care. The dominant pain categories were low back, neck and shoulder, and headache. Facial pain, angina pectoris, noncoronary chest pain, and GI pain were also represented. At 10 weeks, 65% of the patients showed a reduction of >33% in the mean total Pain Rating Index (Melzack) and 50% showed a reduction of >50%. Similar decreases were recorded on other pain indices and in the number of medical symptoms reported.

Large and significant reductions in mood disturbance and psychiatric symptomatology accompanied these changes and were relatively stable on follow-up. These improvements were independent of the pain category. We conclude that this form of meditation can be used as the basis for an effective behavioral program in self-regulation for chronic pain patients. Key features of the program structure and the limitations of the present uncontrolled study are discussed.

 Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L. and Burney, R. The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. J. Behav. Med. (1985) 8:163-190.

 Abstract: Ninety chronic pain patients were trained in mindfulness meditation in a 10-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program.

 Statistically significant reductions were observed in measures of present-moment pain, negative body image, inhibition of activity by pain, symptoms, mood disturbance, and psychological symptomatology, including anxiety and depression. Pain-related drug utilization decreased and activity levels and feelings of self-esteem increased. Improvement appeared to be independent of gender, source of referral, and type of pain.

 A comparison group of pain patients did not show significant improvement on these measures after traditional treatment protocols. At follow-up, the improvements observed during the meditation training were maintained up to 15 months post- meditation training for all measures except present-moment pain.

 The majority of subjects reported continued high compliance with the meditation practice as part of their daily lives. The relationship of mindfulness meditation to other psychological methods for chronic pain control is discussed.

 Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., Burney, R. and Sellers, W., Four year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain: Treatment outcomes and compliance. Clin. J. Pain (1986) 2:159-173.

 Abstract:Two hundred twenty-five chronic pain patients were studied following training in mindfulness meditation.

 Large and significant overall improvements were recorded post-intervention in physical and psychological status. These gains were maintained at follow-up in the majority of subjects. Follow-up times ranged from 2.5 to 48 months. Status on the McGill Melzack Pain Rating Index (PRI), however, tended to revert to preintervention levels following the intervention. Most subjects reported a high degree of adherence with the meditation techniques, maintenance of improved status over time, and a high degree of importance attributed to the training program.

 We conclude that such training can have long-term benefit for chronic pain patients.

 MBSR and Psoriasis

 Kabat-Zinn, J., Wheeler, E., Light, T., Skillings, A., Scharf, M., Cropley, T. G., Hosmer, D., and Bernhard, J., Influence of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosom. Med. (1998) 60:625-632

 Abstract: Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that stress reduction methods based on mindfulness meditation can positively influence the rate at which psoriasis clears in patients undergoing phototherapy or photochemotherapy treatment.

 Methods: Thirty-seven patients with psoriasis about to undergo ultraviolet phototherapy (UVB) or photochemotherapy (PUVA) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention guided by audio taped instructions during light treatments, or a control condition consisting of the light treatments alone with no taped instructions. Psoriasis status was assessed in three ways: direct inspection by unblinded clinic nurses; direct inspection by physicians blinded to the patient’s study condition (tape or no-tape); and blinded physician evaluation of photographs of psoriasis lesions. Four sequential indicators of skin status were monitored during the study: a First Response Point, a Turning Point, a Halfway Point, and a Clearing Point.

 Results: Cox-proportional hazards regression analysis showed that subjects in the tape groups reached the Halfway Point (p = .013) and the Clearing Point (p = .033) significantly more rapidly than those in the no-tape condition, for both UVB and PUVA treatments. Overall the meditators cleared at approximately four times the rate of those subjects receiving light treatment without the guided meditation tape intervention.

 Conclusions: A brief mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention delivered by audiotape during ultraviolet light therapy can increase the rate of resolution of psoriatic lesions in-patients with psoriasis.

 MBSR and Anxiety Disorders

 Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L.G., Fletcher, K., Pbert, L., Linderking, W., Santorelli, S. F., Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Am. J. Psychiatry (1992) 149:936-943.

 Abstract: Objective: This study was designed to determine the effectiveness of a group stress reduction program based on mindfulness meditation for patients with anxiety disorders.

 Method: The 22 study participants were screened with a structured clinical interview and found to meet the DSM-III-R criteria for generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. Assessments, including self-ratings and therapists’ ratings, were obtained weekly before and during the meditation-based stress reduction and relaxation program and monthly during the 3-month follow-up period.

 Results: Repeated measures analyses of variance documented significant reductions in anxiety and depression scores after treatment for 20 of the subjects - changes that were maintained at follow-up. The number of subjects experiencing panic symptoms was also substantially reduced. A comparison of the study subjects with a group of nonstudy participants in the program who met the initial screening criteria for entry into the study showed that both groups achieved similar reductions in anxiety scores on the SCL-90-R and on the Medical Symptom Checklist, suggesting generalizability of the study findings.

 Conclusions: A group mindfulness meditation training program can effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic and can help maintain these reductions in patients with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or panic disorder with agoraphobia.

 Miller, J., Fletcher, K. and Kabat-Zin, J., Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry (1995) 17:192-200.

 Abstract: A previous study of 22 medical patients with DSM-III-R-defined anxiety disorders showed clinically and statistically significant improvements in subjective and objective symptoms of anxiety and panic following an 8-week outpatient physician-referred group stress reduction intervention based on mindfulness meditation.

 Twenty subjects demonstrated significant reductions in Hamilton and Beck Anxiety and Depression scores postintervention and at 3-month follow-up. In this study, 3-year follow-up data were obtained and analyzed on 18 of the original 22 subjects to probe long-term effects. Repeated measures analysis showed maintenance of the gains obtained in the original study on the Hamilton [F (2,32) = 13.22; p< 0.001] and Beck [F (2,32) = 9.83; p< 0.001] anxiety scales as well as on their respective depression scales, on the Hamilton panic score, the number and severity of panic attacks, and on the Mobility Index-Accompanied and the Fear Survey.

 A 3-year follow-up comparison of this cohort with a larger group of subjects from the intervention who had met criteria for screening for the original study suggests generalizability of the results obtained with the smaller, more intensively studied cohort. Ongoing compliance with the meditation practice was also demonstrated in the majority of subjects at 3 years.

 We conclude that an intensive but time-limited group stress reduction intervention based on mindfulness meditation can have long-term beneficial effects in the treatment of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

 MBSR and Fibromyalgia

 Kenneth H. Kaplan, M.D, Don L. Goldenberg, M.D., and Maureen Galvin-Nadeau, M.S., C.S., The Impact of a Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program on Fibromyalgia. General Hospital Psychiatry 15, 284-289, 1993.

 Abstract: Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and resistance to treatment.

 The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program on fibromyalgia. Seventy-seven patients meeting the 1990 criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for fibromyalgia took part in a 10-week group outpatient program. Therapists followed a carefully defined treatment approach and met weekly to further promote uniformity.

 Patients were evaluated before and after the program. Initial evaluation included a psychiatric structured clinical interview (SCID). Outcome measures included visual analog scales to measure global well being, pain, sleep, fatigue, and feeling refreshed in the morning. Patients also completed a medical symptom checklist, SCL-90-R, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and the Fibromyalgia Attitude Index. Although the mean scores of all the patients completing the program showed improvement, 51% showed moderate to marked improvement and only they were counted as "responders".

 These preliminary findings suggests that a meditation-based stress reduction program is effective for patients with fibromyalgia.

 MBSR and Depression

 John Teasdale, Zinden Segal, Mark G. Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, Lau. Prevention of Relapse/Recurrence in Major Depression by Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

 Abstract: This study evaluated mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a group intervention designed to train recovered recurrently depressed patients to disengage from dysphoria-activated depressogenic thinking that may mediate relapse/recurrence. Recovered recurrently depressed patients (n = 145) were randomized to continue with treatment as usual or, in addition, to receive MBCT. Relapse/recurrence to major depression was assessed over a 60-week study period.

 For patients with 3 or more previous episodes of depression (77% of the sample), MBCT significantly reduced risk of relapse/recurrence. For patients with only 2 previous episodes, MBCT did not reduce relapse/recurrence.

 MBCT offers a promising cost-efficient psychological approach to preventing relapse/recurrence in recovered recurrently depressed patients.

See a nicely done chart of MBSR research, subjects and findings.

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