Reducing stress and anxiety in caregivers of lung transplant patients: benefits of mindfulness meditation

Int J Organ Transplant Med. 2014;5(2):50-6.


Background: Caregivers are a vital resource in the care of transplant candidates or recipients. However, few strategies have been tested that attempt to decrease the stress and anxiety they commonly encounter.

Objective: To test the feasibility of using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques to decrease stress and anxiety in caregivers of lung transplant candidates/recipients who required admission to an acute care facility.

Methods: 30 caregivers of lung transplant candidates/recipients were recruited during hospitalization of their significant other. Each completed the perceived stress scale (PSS) and state trait anxiety inventory (STAI) before and 4 weeks after receiving a DVD that demonstrated MBSR techniques. Participants were asked to practice MBSR techniques for 5-15 min a day for 4 weeks.

Results: The participants had a mean±SD age of 55.6±13.6 years; 77% of participants were female and 93% Caucasian. The mean PSS and STAI (trait and anxiety) scores of caregivers were higher than population norms pre- and post-intervention. Scores for caregivers who stated they watched the entire DVD and practiced MBSR techniques as requested (n=15) decreased significantly from pre- to post-testing for perceived stress (p=0.001), state anxiety (p=0.003) and trait anxiety (p=0.006). Scores for those who watched some or none of the DVD (n=15) did not change significantly.

Conclusion: Caregivers can benefit from stress reduction techniques using MBSR.

Keywords: Anxiety; Caregiver; Lung transplant; Meditation; Mindfulness; Stress.