Weathering storms: a cohort study of how participation in a mindfulness based stress reduction program benefits women after breast cancer treatment

  • R.H. Matousek
  • P.L. Dobkin Department of Medicine, McGill Programs in Whole Person Care, McGill University

Abstract

Introduction

A growing number of psychosocial interventions are being offered to cancer patients during and after their medical treatment. Here, we examined whether Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a stress management course, helps women to cope better with stress and illness once their breast cancer treatment is completed. Our aim was to understand how MBSR may benefit those who participate in the course.

Methods

Our cohort study enrolled 59 women in an 8-week MBSR program. They completed "before and after" questionnaires pertaining to outcomes (stress, de­pression, medical symptoms) and process variables (mindfulness, coping with illness, sense of coher­ence). Paired t-tests examined changes from before to after the MBSR course. Changes in mindfulness were correlated with changes in post-MBSR vari­ables, and a regression analysis examined which variables contributed to a reduction in stress after program participation.

Results

Adherence to the program was 91%. Participants reported significant reductions in stress (p < 0.0001), depression (p < 0.0001), and medical symptoms (p < 0.0001), and significant improvements in mindful­ness (p < 0.0001), coping with illness (p < 0.0001), and sense of coherence (p < 0.0001). Changes in mindfulness were significantly related to changes in depression, stress, emotional coping, and sense of coherence. Increases in mindfulness and sense of coherence predicted reductions in stress.

Conclusions

It appears that learning how to be mindful is beneficial for women after their treatment for breast cancer.  


Author Biography

P.L. Dobkin, Department of Medicine, McGill Programs in Whole Person Care, McGill University

Department of Medicine, Associate Professor

How to Cite
Matousek, R., & Dobkin, P. (1). Weathering storms: a cohort study of how participation in a mindfulness based stress reduction program benefits women after breast cancer treatment. Current Oncology, 17(4), 62-70. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.v17i4.572
Section
Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship