Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students

J Behav Med. 1998 Dec;21(6):581-99. doi: 10.1023/a:1018700829825.


The inability to cope successfully with the enormous stress of medical education may lead to a cascade of consequences at both a personal and professional level. The present study examined the short-term effects of an 8-week meditation-based stress reduction intervention on premedical and medical students using a well-controlled statistical design. Findings indicate that participation in the intervention can effectively (1) reduce self-reported state and trait anxiety, (2) reduce reports of overall psychological distress including depression, (3) increase scores on overall empathy levels, and (4) increase scores on a measure of spiritual experiences assessed at termination of intervention. These results (5) replicated in the wait-list control group, (6) held across different experiments, and (7) were observed during the exam period. Future research should address potential long-term effects of mindfulness training for medical and premedical students.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Education, Medical / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychological Tests
  • Spiritualism*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*