The study was conducted at 16 primary health care centers in Skåne, a county in southern Sweden. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden trained two mindfulness instructors, from different occupational groups, at each health care center.
In spring 2012, 215 patients with depression, anxiety, or reactions to severe stress were randomly put into either a structured group mindfulness treatment with approximately 10 patients per group, or regular treatment — mainly individual CBT.
Patients also received a private training program and were asked to record their exercises in a diary, the researchers reported.
Before and after treatment, the patients answered questionnaires that estimated the severity of their depression and anxiety.
The researchers found that self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased in both groups during the eight-week treatment period. In fact, they said, there was no statistical difference between the two treatments.
“The study’s results indicate that group mindfulness treatment, conducted by certified instructors in primary health care, is as effective a treatment method as individual CBT for treating depression and anxiety,” said Jan Sundquist, Ph.D., who led the study.
“This means that group mindfulness treatment should be considered as an alternative to individual psychotherapy, especially at primary health care centers that can’t offer everyone individual therapy.”
Source: Lund University