Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of Bologna in Italy performed a meta-analysis to see if Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT – a meditation program based on integrating cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness-based stress reduction - had a positive impact on psychiatric conditions.

A literature search was undertaken using five electronic databases and references of retrieved articles. Main findings included the following:

  1. MBCT as an adjunct to usual care was significantly better than usual care alone for reducing major depression relapses in patients with three or more prior depressive episodes (4 studies);

  2. MBCT plus gradual discontinuation of maintenance antidepressants was associated with similar relapse rates at 1 year as compared with continuation of maintenance antidepressants (1 study)

  3. the addition of MBCT could be useful for reducing residual depressive symptoms in patients with major depression (2 studies) and

  4. for reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder in remission (1 study) and

  5. in patients with some anxiety disorders (2 studies).

However, several methodological shortcomings including small sample sizes, non-randomized design of some of the studies and the absence of studies comparing MBCT to control groups underscore the necessity for further research.

Citation:  Chiesa A, Serretti A. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for psychiatric disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Res. 2011 May 30;187(3):441-53. Epub 2010 Sep 16. [email protected]