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Mindfulness meditation reduces incidence of major depression

March 13, 2018

Among primary care patients with subthreshold depression, mindfulness meditation training reduces the incidence of major depression and improves depression symptoms. A randomized controlled trial of adults with subthreshold depression compared a usual care group in which there was no psychological intervention (n=116) with a behavioral activation group focused on mindfulness training (n=115). Intervention participants were invited to attend weekly two-hour mindfulness training sessions for eight consecutive weeks. At 12 months, 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). Mindfulness training also had a small effect in reducing depression symptoms (between-group mean difference = 3.85). Other secondary outcomes demonstrated no significant change. The authors 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. The authors plan future research into the cost-effectiveness, health service use implications, and acceptability of mindfulness training.
Treating Subthreshold Depression in Primary Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Behavioural Activation With Mindfulness
Samuel Y.S. Wong, MD, et al
The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong

American Academy of Family Physicians

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