The effect of mindfulness group therapy on a broad range of psychiatric symptoms: A randomised controlled trial in primary health care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background The need for psychotherapy in primary health care is on the increase but individual-based treatment is costly. The main aim of this randomised controlled trial (RCT) was to compare the effect of mindfulness-based group therapy (MGT) with treatment as usual (TAU), mainly individual-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), on a broad range of psychiatric symptoms in primary care patients diagnosed with depressive, anxiety and/or stress and adjustment disorders. An additional aim was to compare the effect of MGT with TAU on mindful attention awareness. Methods This 8-week RCT took place in 2012 at 16 primary care centres in southern Sweden. The study population included both men and women, aged 20–64 years (n = 215). A broad range of psychiatric symptoms were evaluated at baseline and at the 8-week follow-up using the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90). Mindful attention awareness was also evaluated using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Results In both groups, the scores decreased significantly for all subscales and indexes in SCL-90, while the MAAS scores increased significantly. There were no significant differences in the change in psychiatric symptoms between the two groups. The mindfulness group had a somewhat larger change in scores than the control group on the MAAS (P = 0.06, non-significant). Conclusions No significant differences between MGT and TAU, mainly individual-based CBT, were found in treatment effect. Both types of therapies could be used in primary care patients with depressive, anxiety and/or stress and adjustment disorders, where MGT has a potential to save limited resources. Trial registration identifier: NCT01476371.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry


  • Affective disorders, Anxiety disorders, Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), Other psychotherapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available