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Mindfulness-based programmes for mental health promotion in adults in nonclinical settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Galante, J; Friedrich, C; Dawson, AF; Modrego-Alarcón, M; Gebbing, P; Delgado-Suárez, I; Gupta, R; ... Jones, PB; + view all (2021) Mindfulness-based programmes for mental health promotion in adults in nonclinical settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. PLoS Medicine , 18 , Article e1003481. 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003481. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need for mental health promotion in nonclinical settings. Mindfulness-based programmes (MBPs) are being widely implemented to reduce stress, but a comprehensive evidence synthesis is lacking. We reviewed trials to assess whether MBPs promote mental health relative to no intervention or comparator interventions. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Following a detailed preregistered protocol (PROSPERO CRD42018105213) developed with public and professional stakeholders, 13 databases were searched to August 2020 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining in-person, expert-defined MBPs in nonclinical settings. Two researchers independently selected, extracted, and appraised trials using the Cochrane Risk-of-Bias Tool 2.0. Primary outcomes were psychometrically validated anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and mental well-being questionnaires at 1 to 6 months after programme completion. Multiple testing was performed using p < 0.0125 (Bonferroni) for statistical significance. Secondary outcomes, meta-regression and sensitivity analyses were prespecified. Pairwise random-effects multivariate meta-analyses and prediction intervals (PIs) were calculated. A total of 11,605 participants in 136 trials were included (29 countries, 77% women, age range 18 to 73 years). Compared with no intervention, in most but not all scenarios MBPs improved average anxiety (8 trials; standardised mean difference (SMD) = -0.56; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.80 to -0.33; p-value < 0.001; 95% PI -1.19 to 0.06), depression (14 trials; SMD = -0.53; 95% CI -0.72 to -0.34; p-value < 0.001; 95% PI -1.14 to 0.07), distress (27 trials; SMD = -0.45; 95% CI -0.58 to -0.31; p-value < 0.001; 95% PI -1.04 to 0.14), and well-being (9 trials; SMD = 0.33; 95% CI 0.11 to 0.54; p-value = 0.003; 95% PI -0.29 to 0.94). Compared with nonspecific active control conditions, in most but not all scenarios MBPs improved average depression (6 trials; SMD = -0.46; 95% CI -0.81 to -0.10; p-value = 0.012, 95% PI -1.57 to 0.66), with no statistically significant evidence for improving anxiety or distress and no reliable data on well-being. Compared with specific active control conditions, there is no statistically significant evidence of MBPs' superiority. Only effects on distress remained when higher-risk trials were excluded. USA-based trials reported smaller effects. MBPs targeted at higher-risk populations had larger effects than universal MBPs. The main limitation of this review is that confidence according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach is moderate to very low, mainly due to inconsistency and high risk of bias in many trials. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with taking no action, MBPs of the included studies promote mental health in nonclinical settings, but given the heterogeneity between studies, the findings do not support generalisation of MBP effects across every setting. MBPs may have specific effects on some common mental health symptoms. Other preventative interventions may be equally effective. Implementation of MBPs in nonclinical settings should be partnered with thorough research to confirm findings and learn which settings are most likely to benefit.

Type: Article
Title: Mindfulness-based programmes for mental health promotion in adults in nonclinical settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003481
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003481
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2021 Galante et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119273
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