Objectives: Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) often corresponds to the prodromal stage of Alzheimer disease (AD). The aMCI stage represents a crucial time window to apply preventive interventions in an attempt to delay cognitive decline. Stress, one of AD's modifiable risk factors frequently co-occurring with aMCI, stands out as a key intervention target. The goal of this study was to assess the impacts of two non-pharmacological interventions, mindfulness and psychoeducation, on stress at the psychological and physiological levels among aMCI older adults. Methods: Forty-eight aMCI participants were randomized between a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) and a psychoeducation-based intervention (PBI) for eight weekly sessions. Anxiety symptoms, perceived stress levels, cortisol awakening response (CAR), and coping strategies were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Mindfulness attitudes and time dedicated to at-home meditative practices were evaluated in the MBI group. Results: The main results revealed a slight reduction of the CAR among MBI participants who practiced meditation at home the most and a decrease in perceived stress levels in the PBI group. Both interventions enhanced problem-focused coping strategies. Conclusion: In sum, this pilot study supports the potential of MBI and PBI to reduce stress at the physiological and psychological level, respectively, and increase coping strategies in older adults at risk for AD.
Keywords: Amnestic mild cognitive impairment; cortisol; mindfulness; psychoeducation; stress.