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Mindfulness Predicts Relapse/Recurrence in Major Depressive Disorder After Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Michalak, Johannes Dr phil*; Heidenreich, Thomas Dr phil; Meibert, Petra Dipl-Psych*; Schulte, Dietmar Dr phil*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: August 2008 - Volume 196 - Issue 8 - p 630-633
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31817d0546
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Empirical evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is encouraging. However, data concerning the role of mindfulness in its relapse preventive effect are lacking. In our study, 25 formerly depressed patients received MBCT. Mindfulness was assessed before and immediately after MBCT using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale. Mindfulness significantly increased during MBCT, and posttreatment levels of mindfulness predicted the risk of relapse/recurrence to major depressive disorder in the 12-month follow-up period. Mindfulness predicted the risk of relapse/recurrence after controlling for numbers of previous episodes and residual depressive symptoms. The results provide preliminary evidence for the notion that mindfulness is an important factor in relapse prevention in major depression.

*Department of Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany; and †University of Applied Sciences, Esslingen, Germany.

Supported by a grant from the research fund of the center for psychotherapy of the Ruhr-University (Bochum, Germany) (J.M.).

Send reprint requests to Johannes Michalak, PD, Dr phil, Department of Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44789 Bochum, Germany. E-mail: Johannes.Michalak@rub.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.