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21-07-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2016 Open Access

Mindfulness 6/2016

Group and Individual Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Are Both Effective: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial in Depressed People with a Somatic Disease

Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2016
Maya J. Schroevers, K. Annika Tovote, Evelien Snippe, Joke Fleer


Depressive symptoms are commonly reported by individuals suffering from a chronic medical condition. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be an effective psychological intervention for reducing depressive symptoms in a range of populations. MBCT is traditionally given in a group format. The aim of the current pilot RCT was to examine the effects of group-based MBCT and individually based MBCT for reducing depressive symptoms in adults suffering from one or more somatic diseases. In this study, 56 people with a somatic condition and comorbid depressive symptoms (i.e., Beck Depression Inventory-II [BDI-II] ≥14) were randomized to group MBCT (n = 28) or individual MBCT (n = 28). Patients filled out questionnaires at three points in time (i.e., pre-intervention, post-intervention, 3 months follow-up). Primary outcome measure was severity of depressive symptoms. Anxiety and positive well-being as well as mindfulness and self-compassion were also assessed. We found significant improvements in all outcomes in those receiving group or individual MBCT, with no significant differences between the two conditions regarding these improvements. Although preliminary (given the pilot nature and lack of control group), results suggest that both group MBCT and individual MBCT are associated with improvements in psychological well-being and enhanced skills of mindfulness and self-compassion in individuals with a chronic somatic condition and comorbid depressive symptoms. Our findings merit future non-inferiority trials in larger samples to be able to draw more firm conclusions about the effectiveness of both formats of MBCT.

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