Background: This study evaluated the efficacy of a mindfulness training programme (mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)) in improving asthma-related quality of life and lung function in patients with asthma.
Methods: A randomised controlled trial compared an 8-week MBSR group-based programme (n=42) with an educational control programme (n=41) in adults with mild, moderate or severe persistent asthma recruited at a university hospital outpatient primary care and pulmonary care clinic. Primary outcomes were quality of life (Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire) and lung function (change from baseline in 2-week average morning peak expiratory flow (PEF)). Secondary outcomes were asthma control assessed by 2007 National Institutes of Health/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute guidelines, and stress (Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 10 weeks, 6 and 12 months.
Results: At 12 months MBSR resulted in clinically significant improvements from baseline in quality of life (differential change in Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score for MBSR vs control: 0.66 (95% CI 0.30 to 1.03; p<0.001)) but not in lung function (morning PEF, PEF variability and forced expiratory volume in 1 s). MBSR also resulted in clinically significant improvements in perceived stress (differential change in PSS score for MBSR vs control: -4.5 (95% CI -7.1 to -1.9; p=0.001)). There was no significant difference (p=0.301) in percentage of patients in MBSR with well controlled asthma (7.3% at baseline to 19.4%) compared with the control condition (7.5% at baseline to 7.9%).
Conclusions: MBSR produced lasting and clinically significant improvements in asthma-related quality of life and stress in patients with persistent asthma, without improvements in lung function.
Clinical trial registration number: Asthma and Mindfulness-Based Reduction (MBSR) Identifier: NCT00682669. clinicaltrials.gov.