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Meditation Can Keep Depressive Symptoms from Worsening

Meditation Can Keep Depressive Symptoms from Worsening

A new primary care study finds that mindfulness meditation training for individuals with subthreshold depression reduces the incidence of major depression and improves depression symptoms.

When a person has subthreshold depression they typically display a group of depressive symptoms but the number, duration, or quality of the symptoms are not present in a sufficient scale to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of major depression.

In the new study, adults with subthreshold depression were randomly assigned to receive either usual care in which there was no psychological intervention (n=116) or a behavioral activation focused on mindfulness training (n=115).

Intervention participants were invited to attend weekly two-hour mindfulness training sessions for eight consecutive weeks.

After a year of training, there was a statistically significant difference in the incidence of major depressive disorder between groups (11 percent in the mindfulness group compared to 27 percent in usual care).

Investigators also discovered mindfulness training had a small effect in reducing depression symptoms (between-group mean difference = 3.85). Other secondary outcomes demonstrated no significant change.

Researchers suggest that, for patients with subthreshold depression who have not had a major depressive episode in the past six months, mindfulness training is a feasible method of preventing major depression.

Future research will compare cost-effectiveness, health service use implications, and acceptability of mindfulness training.

The study appears in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Source: Annals of Family Medicine

Meditation Can Keep Depressive Symptoms from Worsening

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Meditation Can Keep Depressive Symptoms from Worsening. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 14 Mar 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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