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The Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in a Non-Clinical Student Population

Hanstede, Marijke MA*; Gidron, Yori PhD; Nyklíček, Ivan PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2008 - Volume 196 - Issue 10 - p 776-779
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31818786b8
Brief Report

This controlled pilot study tested the effects of a mindfulness intervention on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms and tested the psychological processes possibly mediating such effects. Participants with OCD symptoms (12 women, 5 men) received either mindfulness training (N=8) or formed a waiting-list control group (N = 9). Meditation included 8 group meetings teaching meditative breathing, body-scan, and mindful daily living, applied to OCD. The intervention had a significant and large effect on mindfulness, OCD symptoms, letting go, and thought-action fusion. Controlling for changes in “letting go,” group effects on change in OCD symptoms disappeared, pointing at a mediating role for letting go. This may be the first controlled study demonstrating that a mindfulness intervention reduces OCD symptoms, possibly explained by increasing letting go capacity. If replicated in larger and clinical samples, mindfulness training may be an alternative therapy for OCD.

*Centre of Research on Psychology in Somatic Disease (CoRPS), Department of Medical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; and †School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.

Send reprint requests to Yori Gidron, PhD, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK. E-mail

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.