Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress management program as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy in patients with anxiety disorder

J Psychosom Res. 2007 Feb;62(2):189-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.09.009.


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress management program in patients with anxiety disorder.

Methods: Patients with anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to an 8-week clinical trial of either a meditation-based stress management program or an anxiety disorder education program. The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Symptom Checklist--90-Revised (SCL-90-R) were used to measure outcome at 0, 2, 4, and 8 weeks of the program.

Results: Compared to the education group, the meditation-based stress management group showed significant improvement in scores on all anxiety scales (HAM-A, P=.00; STAI state, P=.00; STAI trait, P=.00; anxiety subscale of SCL-90-R, P=.00) and in the SCL-90-R hostility subscale (P=.01). Findings on depression measures were inconsistent, with no significant improvement shown by subjects in the meditation-based stress management group compared to those in the education group. The meditation-based stress management group did not show significant improvement in somatization, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and interpersonal sensitivity scores, or in the SCL-90-R phobic anxiety subscale compared to the education group.

Conclusions: A meditation-based stress management program can be effective in relieving anxiety symptoms in patients with anxiety disorder. However, well-designed, randomized, and controlled trials are needed to scientifically prove the worth of this intervention prior to treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Alprazolam / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Fluvoxamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use
  • Program Development*
  • Self Care*
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Paroxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Sertraline
  • Alprazolam