Distress improves after mindfulness training for progressive MS: A pilot randomised trial

Mult Scler. 2015 Aug;21(9):1184-94. doi: 10.1177/1352458515576261. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


Background: Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to effectively reduce anxiety, depression and pain in patients with chronic physical illnesses.

Objectives: We assessed the potential effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a specially adapted Skype distant-delivered mindfulness intervention, designed to reduce distress for people affected by primary and secondary progressive MS.

Methods: Forty participants were randomly assigned to the eight-week intervention (n = 19) or a waiting-list control group (n = 21). Participants completed standardised questionnaires to measure mood, impact of MS and symptom severity, quality of life and service costs at baseline, post-intervention and three-month follow-up.

Results: Distress scores were lower in the intervention group compared with the control group at post-intervention and follow-up (p < 0.05), effect size -0.67 post-intervention and -0.97 at follow-up. Mean scores for pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and impact of MS were reduced for the mindfulness group compared with control group at post-therapy and follow-up; effect sizes ranged from -0.27 to -0.99 post-intervention and -0.29 to -1.12 at follow-up. There were no differences in quality-adjusted life years, but an 87.4% probability that the intervention saves on service costs and improves outcome.

Conclusions: A mindfulness intervention delivered through Skype video conferences appears accessible, feasible and potentially effective and cost-effective for people with progressive MS.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; anxiety; depression; distress; mindfulness; pilot randomised control trial; progressive.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Telerehabilitation / economics
  • Telerehabilitation / methods*