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Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):823-30. doi: 10.2337/dc12-1477. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

The effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on emotional distress, quality of life, and HbA(1c) in outpatients with diabetes (DiaMind): a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases, Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.



Emotional distress is common in outpatients with diabetes, affecting ∼20-40% of the patients. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of group therapy with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), relative to usual care, for patients with diabetes with regard to reducing emotional distress and improving health-related quality of life and glycemic control.


In the present randomized controlled trial, 139 outpatients with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) and low levels of emotional well-being were randomized to MBCT (n = 70) or a waiting list group (n = 69). Primary outcomes were perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), anxiety and depressive symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), mood (Profiles of Mood States), and diabetes-specific distress (Problem Areas In Diabetes). Secondary outcomes were health-related quality of life (12-Item Short-Form Health Survey), and glycemic control (HbA(1c)). Assessments were conducted at baseline and at 4 and 8 weeks of follow-up.


Compared with control, MBCT was more effective in reducing stress (P < 0.001, Cohen d = 0.70), depressive symptoms (P = 0.006, d = 0.59), and anxiety (P = 0.019, d = 0.44). In addition, MBCT was more effective in improving quality of life (mental: P = 0.003, d = 0.55; physical: P = 0.032, d = 0.40). We found no significant effect on HbA(1c) or diabetes-specific distress, although patients with elevated diabetes distress in the MBCT group tended to show a decrease in diabetes distress (P = 0.07, d = 0.70) compared with the control group.


Compared with usual care, MBCT resulted in a reduction of emotional distress and an increase in health-related quality of life in diabetic patients who had lower levels of emotional well-being.

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