Impact of a mindfulness stress management program on stress, anxiety, depression and quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Stress. 2015 Jan;18(1):57-66. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2014.974030. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder with a significant psychological burden throughout the life course of affected women. Thus, use of mindful awareness may be beneficial as an adjunct to conventional medical management of women with PCOS. A randomized, controlled trial was conducted at the Evgenideion Hospital of the Athens University Medical School to explore the impact of an 8-week mindfulness stress management program on measures of depression, anxiety and stress as well as on the quality of life in reproductive age women with PCOS. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee. Twenty-three and 15 women with PCOS were randomly allocated to the intervention or control group, respectively. All participants were administered DASS21, PSS-14, PCOSQ, Daily Life and General Life Satisfaction Questionnaires and provided three-timed daily samples of salivary cortisol, before and after the intervention. Intervention group participants were provided with the Credibility/Expectancy Questionnaire at the day of enrolment, to check for possible placebo effect on the outcome. Post-intervention, between-group results revealed statistically significant reductions in stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as in salivary cortisol concentrations, along with an increase in Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life scores in the intervention group only. There was no significant "placebo" effect on the outcome measures. Mindfulness techniques seem promising in ameliorating stress, anxiety, depression and the quality of life in women with PCOS and could be used as an adjunct method to the conventional management of these women.

Keywords: Anxiety; depression; mindfulness; polycystic ovary syndrome; quality of life; stress management.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Mental Health
  • Mindfulness*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / psychology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydrocortisone