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Objective: The use of mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) in oncology settings has become increasingly popular, and research in the field has rapidly expanded. The objective was by means of a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the current evidence for the effect of MBT on symptoms of anxiety and depression in adult cancer patients and survivors. Method: Electronic databases were searched, and researchers were contacted for further relevant studies. Twenty-two independent studies with a total of 1,403 participants were included. Studies were coded for quality (range: 0–4), and overall effect size analyses were performed separately for nonrandomized studies (K = 13, n = 448) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs; K = 9, n = 955). Effect sizes were combined using the random-effects model. Results: In the aggregated sample of nonrandomized studies (average quality score: 0.5), MBT was associated with significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression from pre- to posttreatment corresponding to moderate effect sizes (Hedges\'s g) of 0.60 and 0.42, respectively. The pooled controlled effect sizes (Hedges\'s g) of RCTs (average quality score: 2.9) were 0.37 for anxiety symptoms (p < .001) and 0.44 for symptoms of depression (p < .001). These effect sizes appeared robust. Furthermore, in RCTs, MBT significantly improved mindfulness skills (Hedges\'s g = 0.39). Conclusion: While the overall quality of existing clinical trials varies considerably, there appears to be some positive evidence from relatively high-quality RCTs to support the use of MBT for cancer patients and survivors with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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.