Monday, May 19, 2008

Mindfulness & Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Evans, S., Ferrando, S., Findler, M., Stowell, C., Smart, C., Haglin, D. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(4), 716–721.

General Methodology Small, pre-test post-test, non-experimental pilot study. No control group. Participants screened for inclusion/exclusion criteria, but otherwise self-selected.

Participants and Sample Size(s) 11 (6 female, 5 male), mean age = 49 yrs, mean educ = 17 yrs, resulting from first screening 36 applicants down to 12, then dropping 1 from data analysis due to unrelated medical problem.

Conditions/Manipulations8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program

Dependent Measures included Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)

Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ)

Profile of Mood States (POMS)

Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)

Other Measures Anecdotal participant self-reports.

Results Before MBCT:
moderate levels of anxiety (BAI);
pathological degree of worry (PSWQ);
significant levels of anxiety and tension (POMS);
mild levels of depression (BDI);
mindful awareness significantly lower than normal (MAAS)

After MBCT:

statistically significant improvement on all scales except the MAAS;
MAAS scores improved to approximately normal, though the change didn't reach statistical significance (due to small sample?);
all participants completed the 8-week MBCT course;
very positive anecdotal stories from participants.

Discussion/Conclusions MBCT appears to be “a feasible and acceptable treatment for individuals with GAD” [pg 720];
stronger conclusions not possible because of design, and external validity (generalizability) difficult to predict.