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02-10-2018 | Psychological support | Article

Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Distress and HbA1c in People with Diabetes


Authors: Sue Pearson, Karen Wills, Michelle Woods, Emma Warnecke

Publisher: Springer US


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent chronic condition that is associated with a high degree of psychological distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel approach to delivering an intervention of mindfulness practice (IMP) to a patient population with a demonstrated need for psychological support. The novel approach utilised a self-directed audio compact disc (CD) recording of mindfulness practice. In this randomised controlled trial, 67 participants with T2DM (mean age = 59.4, standard deviation = 12.4), attending outpatient clinics, were randomised to an IMP (n = 31) or a control (n = 36) group. Participants completed written questionnaires at baseline and again at 8- and 12-week follow-ups. Primary outcome measures included depression, anxiety and stress (21-item Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale) and diabetes-specific emotional problems (Problem Areas in Diabetes Survey (PAID)). Secondary outcome measures included diabetes self-management using the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities Scale (SDSCA), systolic and diastolic blood pressure and HbA1c. Participants receiving the IMP reported significant reductions in depression (p = 0.02) and stress (p = 0.03) when compared with the control group. At the 12-week follow-up, there was an overall reduction in depression by 4.1 units and stress by 3.4 units in the IMP group relative to the control group. There was an overall improvement in blood glucose monitoring; however, this was not significant (p = 0.06). HbA1c measures decreased significantly over the 12-week follow-up by 0.48 units (time × group interaction: p = 0.02). The current study has shown that an easily accessible self-directed IMP was effective in improving psychological symptoms of depression and stress, blood glucose monitoring and HbA1c.

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