Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy in vascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

J Psychosom Res. 2014 May;76(5):341-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.02.012. Epub 2014 Mar 11.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on psychological and physical outcomes for people with vascular disease.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

Data sources: AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, British Nursing Index, Medline, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Central, Social Sciences Citation Index, Social Policy and Practice, and HMIC from inception to January 2013.

Review methods: Articles were screened for inclusion independently by two reviewers. Data extraction and quality appraisal were performed by one reviewer and checked by a second with discrepancies resolved by discussion with a third if necessary. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed.

Results: Nine articles (from eight original randomised controlled trials) met eligibility criteria and were included in the final review. In total, 578 participants were enrolled across the trials, with participants presenting with prehypertension/hypertension (n=3 trials), type 1 or 2 diabetes (n=2), heart disease (n=2) and stroke (n=1). Meta-analyses, using standardised mean differences, showed evidence of reductions in stress (-0.36; 95% CI -0.67 to -0.09; p=0.01), depression (-0.35; 95% CI -0.53 to -0.16; p=0.003) and anxiety (-0.50; 95% CI -0.70 to -0.29; p<0.001). Effects on physical outcomes (blood pressure, albuminuria, stress hormones) were mixed.

Conclusion: Whilst populations with vascular disease appear to derive a range of psychological benefits from MBSR/MBCT intervention, the effects on physical parameters of disease are not yet established. More robust studies, with longer term follow-up, are required to ascertain full effectiveness of such intervention.

Keywords: MBCT; MBSR; Meta-analysis; Mindfulness; Systematic review; Vascular disease.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy*