1 Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences - Unit for Psychooncology and Health Psychology, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
We examined the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on symptom severity of depression, complicated grief, posttraumatic stress, and working memory in elderly bereaved people with long-term bereavement-related distress. A non-randomized, controlled pilot design was used in a sample of elderly bereaved people (mean age=77 years) with long-term bereavement-related distress. Results were compared between MBCT intervention group completers (n=12), intervention group intention to treat (n=18), and wait list controls (n=18) at pre- and postintervention and at a 5-month follow-up. Compared to wait list controls, MBCT reduced depressive symptoms significantly in intervention completers at follow-up (Hedges’ g= 0.84, p=0.04) with significant interaction between group and time (Hedges’ g=0.88, p=0.02). No other significant outcome differences between groups were observed, although the interaction effect on working memory at postintervention approached a significant level (Hedges’ g= 0.35, p=0.09). In the wait list group, 29 % had elevated depressive symptoms both before intervention and at follow-up. In the intervention group, 50 % of the completers had elevated depressive symptoms before intervention, but 0 % had elevated symptoms at follow-up. MBCT appears to reduce depressive symptoms in this sample of elderly bereaved people, but further studies of the effects of MBCT in this population are needed for firm conclusions.