Promoting Resilience with the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program in Patients With Chronic Illness
Main Article Content
Objectives: Twenty-first century patients need to take a proactive stance with regard to their health in order to cope well with chronic illness. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week structured group program that encourages patients to take responsibility for their health and teaches them to cope with stressors inherent in living with illness.
Methods: Patients with chronic illnesses (e.g., breast cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis) participated in the MBSR program from 2006-2012. They completed questionnaires pertaining to depression, medical symptoms, stress, coping, sense of coherence, and mindfulness pre- and post-MBSR. They filled out a follow-up questionnaire that asked them to rate the program and its components. A self-care index was created from 5 items.
Results: Of the 126 patients, 85.7% were woman, breast cancer was the most common illness (46.8%), and the average age was 52.3 (SD = 13.3). There were significant improvements on the following outcomes: depression, stress, and medical symptoms. With regard to process measures, there were significant increases in: mindfulness, sense of coherence (comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness of life), as well as significant decreases in emotional coping. Patients rated the program with a mean of 8.94 (1 to 10 scale) for importance. They rank ordered the program components in terms of helpfulness with awareness of breath, the silent retreat day, and yoga practice as the highest of 10 items. There was a significant positive correlation between self-care index at the end of the course and its perceived importance. Moreover, self-care was positively and significantly correlated with post-MBSR mindfulness and viewing life as meaningful.
Conclusions: Patients who took the MBSR program reported mental and physical health benefits. Furthermore, being mindful enabled them to cope better, take care of themselves, and view life as more coherent such that they became more stress resilient.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Creative Comons 4.0 CC-BY
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).