Objective: Depressive symptoms are common among patients with fibromyalgia, and behavioral intervention has been recommended as a major treatment component for this illness. The objective of this study was to test the effects of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on depressive symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial examined effects of the 8-week MBSR intervention on depressive symptoms in 91 women with fibromyalgia who were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 51) or a waiting-list control group (n = 40). Eligible patients were at least 18 years old, willing to participate in a weekly group, and able to provide physician verification of a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Of 166 eligible participants who responded to local television news publicizing, 49 did not appear for a scheduled intake, 24 enrolled but did not provide baseline data, and 2 were excluded due to severe mental illness, leaving 91 participants. The sample averaged 48 years of age and had 14.7 years of education. The typical participant was white, married, and employed. Patients randomly assigned to treatment received MBSR. Eight weekly 2.5-hour sessions were led by a licensed clinical psychologist with mindfulness training. Somatic and cognitive symptoms of depression were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory administered at baseline, immediately postprogram, and at followup 2 months after the conclusion of the intervention.
Results: Change in depressive symptoms was assessed using slopes analyses of intervention effects over time. Depressive symptoms improved significantly in treatment versus control participants over the 3 assessments.
Conclusion: This meditation-based intervention alleviated depressive symptoms among patients with fibromyalgia.