Mindfulness-based cognitive group therapy for women with breast and gynecologic cancer: A pilot study to determine effectiveness and feasibility

Lesley Stafford, Elizabeth Foley, Fiona Judd, Penny Gibson, Litza Kiropoulos, Jeremy Couper

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Group-based mindfulness training is frequently described in psycho-oncology literature, but little is known of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). We investigated the effectiveness and acceptability of MBCT for women with breast and gynecologic cancer. Methods: Fifty women were recruited to participate in eight weekly 2-h mindfulness sessions. Outcomes of distress, quality of life (QOL), post-traumatic growth, and mindfulness were assessed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and again 3 months later using validated measures. Data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVAs with a Bonferroni correction. Participant satisfaction and evaluation were also assessed. Results: Forty-two women completed the program, and complete data were available for 36 women. Significant improvements with large effect sizes (ηρ2) were observed for distress (P < 0.001; ηρ2 = 0.238), QOL (P = 0.001; ηρ2 = 0.204), mindfulness (P < 0.001; ηρ2 = 0.363) and post-traumatic growth (P < 0.001; ηρ2 = 0.243). Gains were maintained 3 months post-intervention. Improvements in outcomes did not differ based on diagnostic group, psychological status, or physical well-being at entry. Change indices further support these findings. Scores on measures of distress, QOL, and post-traumatic growth decreased as a function of increased mindfulness at each time point (all P < 0.05). Participants reported experiencing the program as beneficial, particularly its group-based nature, and provided positive feedback of the therapy as a whole as well as its individual components. Conclusions: Within the limits of a non-randomized trial, these findings provide preliminary support for the potential psychosocial benefits of MBCT in a heterogeneous group of women with cancer. Future, more comprehensive trials are needed to provide systematic evidence of this therapy in oncology settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3009-3019
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Distress
  • Mindfulness
  • Oncology
  • Quality of life

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