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We examined the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on symptom severity of depression, complicated grief, posttraumatic stress, and working memory in elderly bereaved people with long-term bereavement-related distress. A non-randomized, controlled pilot design was used in a sample of elderly bereaved people (mean age = 77 years) with long-term bereavement-related distress. Results were compared between MBCT intervention group completers (n = 12), intervention group intention to treat (n = 18), and wait list controls (n = 18) at pre- and post-intervention and at a 5-month follow-up. Compared to wait list controls, MBCT reduced depressive symptoms significantly in intervention completers at follow-up (Hedges’ g = 0.84, p = 0.04) with significant interaction between group and time (Hedges’ g = 0.88, p = 0.02). No other significant outcome differences between groups were observed, although the interaction effect on working memory at post-intervention approached a significant level (Hedges’ g = 0.35, p = 0.09). In the wait list group, 29 % had elevated depressive symptoms both before intervention and at follow-up. In the intervention group, 50 % of the completers had elevated depressive symptoms before intervention, but 0 % had elevated symptoms at follow-up. MBCT appears to reduce depressive symptoms in this sample of elderly bereaved people, but further studies of the effects of MBCT in this population are needed for firm conclusions.