Effects of mindfulness meditation on occupational functioning and health care utilization in individuals with anxiety

J Psychosom Res. 2017 Apr;95:7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.01.011. Epub 2017 Jan 23.


Objectives: To examine the effect of mindfulness meditation on occupational functioning in individuals with Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Methods: Fifty-seven individuals with GAD (mean (SD) age=39 (13); 56% women) participated in an 8-week clinical trial in which they were randomized to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or an attention control class. In this secondary analysis, absenteeism, entire workdays missed, partial workdays missed, and healthcare utilization patterns were assessed before and after treatment.

Results: Compared to the attention control class, participation in MBSR was associated with a significantly greater decrease in partial work days missed for adults with GAD (t=2.734, df=51, p=0.009). Interestingly, a dose effect was observed during the 24-week post-treatment follow-up period: among MBSR participants, greater home mindfulness meditation practice was associated with less work loss and with fewer mental health professional visits.

Conclusion: Mindfulness meditation training may improve occupational functioning and decrease healthcare utilization in adults with GAD.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01033851.

Keywords: Absenteeism; Anxiety; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01033851; Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); Health care utilization; Mindfulness/meditation; Work loss.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Mental Health
  • Mindfulness* / trends
  • Occupational Health* / trends
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01033851