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Few empirical studies have explored the associations between formal and informal mindfulness home practice and outcome in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). In this study ninety-nine participants randomised to MBCT in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial completed self-reported ratings of home practice over 7 treatment weeks. Recurrence of Major Depression was assessed immediately after treatment, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12-months post-treatment. Results identified a significant association between mean daily duration of formal home practice and outcome and additionally indicated that participants who reported that they engaged in formal home practice on at least 3 days a week during the treatment phase were almost half as likely to relapse as those who reported fewer days of formal practice. These associations were independent of the potentially confounding variable of participant-rated treatment plausibility. The current study identified no significant association between informal home practice and outcome, although this may relate to the inherent difficulties in quantifying informal home mindfulness practice. These findings have important implications for clinicians discussing mindfulness-based interventions with their participants, in particular in relation to MBCT, where the amount of participant engagement in home practice appears to have a significant positive impact on outcome.
Objective: We compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with both cognitive psychological education (CPE) and treatment as usual (TAU) in preventing relapse to major depressive disorder (MDD) in people currently in remission following at least 3 previous episodes. Method: A randomized controlled trial in which 274 participants were allocated in the ratio 2:2:1 to MBCT plus TAU, CPE plus TAU, and TAU alone, and data were analyzed for the 255 (93%; MBCT = 99, CPE = 103, TAU = 53) retained to follow-up. MBCT was delivered in accordance with its published manual, modified to address suicidal cognitions; CPE was modeled on MBCT, but without training in meditation. Both treatments were delivered through 8 weekly classes. Results: Allocated treatment had no significant effect on risk of relapse to MDD over 12 months follow-up, hazard ratio for MBCT vs. CPE = 0.88, 95% CI [0.58, 1.35]; for MBCT vs. TAU = 0.69, 95% CI [0.42, 1.12]. However, severity of childhood trauma affected relapse, hazard ratio for increase of 1 standard deviation = 1.26 (95% CI [1.05, 1.50]), and significantly interacted with allocated treatment. Among participants above median severity, the hazard ratio was 0.61, 95% CI [0.34, 1.09], for MBCT vs. CPE, and 0.43, 95% CI [0.22, 0.87], for MBCT vs. TAU. For those below median severity, there were no such differences between treatment groups. Conclusion: MBCT provided significant protection against relapse for participants with increased vulnerability due to history of childhood trauma, but showed no significant advantage in comparison to an active control treatment and usual care over the whole group of patients with recurrent depression.