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Behav Res Ther. 2018 Mar;102:25-35. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2017.12.002. Epub 2017 Dec 20.

Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Center for Psychological Psychotherapy, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: paul.blanck@zpp.uni-hd.de.
2
Center for Psychological Psychotherapy, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
3
Department for Social Work, Health and Care, University of Applied Sciences Esslingen, Germany.
4
Institute of Medical Psychology, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
5
Center for Psychological Psychotherapy, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: johannes.mander@zpp.uni-hd.de.

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are currently well established in psychotherapy with meta-analyses demonstrating their efficacy. In these multifaceted interventions, the concrete performance of mindfulness exercises is typically integrated in a larger therapeutic framework. Thus, it is unclear whether stand-alone mindfulness exercises (SAMs) without such a framework are beneficial, as well. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the effects of SAMs on symptoms of anxiety and depression. Systematic searching of electronic databases resulted in 18 eligible studies (n = 1150) for meta-analyses. After exclusion of one outlier SAMs had small to medium effects on anxiety (SMD = 0.39; CI: 0.22, 0.56; PI: 0.07, 0.70; p < .001, I2 = 18.90%) and on depression (SMD = 0.41; CI: 0.19, 0.64; PI: -0.05, 0.88; p < .001; I2 = 33.43%), when compared with controls. Summary effect estimates decreased, but remained significant when corrected for potential publication bias. This is the first meta-analysis to show that the mere, regular performance of mindfulness exercises is beneficial, even without being integrated in larger therapeutic frameworks.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Depression; Meta-analysis; Mindfulness; Stand-alone intervention

PMID:
29291584
DOI:
10.1016/j.brat.2017.12.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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