A systematic review of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions following transient ischemic attack and stroke

Int J Stroke. 2013 Aug;8(6):465-74. doi: 10.1111/ijs.12135.


Background: Recent epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between perceived psychological stress and ischemic stroke. A feature of stroke is recurrence; 30-40% within five-years following first transient ischemic attack/stroke. Equipping patients with skills and coping strategies to help reduce or manage perceived psychological stress may represent an important secondary prevention intervention. Mindfulness-based interventions are structured, group-based self-management programmes with potential to help people with long-term conditions cope better with physical, psychological, or emotional distress. Review evidence suggests significant benefits across a range of physical and mental health problems. However, we could find no evidence synthesis relating specifically to the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions following transient ischemic attack/stroke.

Aim: The review aims to evaluate the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions following transient ischemic attack/stroke.

Methods: Six major databases were searched using subject headings and key words. Papers were screened using review-specific criteria. Critical appraisal and data extraction were conducted independently by two reviewers. Statistical meta-analysis was not possible; therefore findings are presented in narrative form.

Results: Four studies involving 160 participants were reviewed. Three papers reported mindfulness-based interventions delivered to groups; one paper reported a mindfulness-based intervention which was delivered one to one. The results demonstrate a positive trend in favor of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions across a range of psychological, physiological, and psychosocial outcomes including anxiety, depression, mental fatigue, blood pressure, perceived health, and quality of life. No evidence of harm was found.

Conclusion: Following transient ischemic attack/stroke, people may derive a range of benefits from mindfulness-based interventions; however, further methodologically robust trials are required.

Keywords: mindfulness-based stress reduction; perceived psychosocial stress; prevention; rehabilitation; stroke; transient ischemic attack.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / psychology*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stroke / psychology*