Effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies in reducing symptoms of depression: a meta-analysis

Robert McCarty, Joerg Schulz, Andrew Grey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Mindfulness-based therapies are a recent development within the cognitive-behavioural tradition and an important element of the third wave cognitive behavioural therapy models. A number of these therapies could be considered to have mindfulness as a major component of the therapy. There has been a considerable growth of interest in these therapies with an accompanying increase in their evidence base. While a number of reviews have been conducted, these therapies were not comprehensively appraised. The most prominent of these therapies, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, was developed to reduce relapse in recurrent depression. We conducted a meta-analysis which looked at therapies considered to have mindfulness as a major component. We investigated whether this group of therapies was effective in reducing current depressive symptomatology as measured by the Beck depression inventory (BDI). A total of 11 studies were included in the analysis. We found a significant mean reduction score in current depressive symptomatology, as measured by the BDI, of 8.73 points (95% confidence interval = 6.61, 10.86). We found evidence for the effectiveness of these major-component therapies in reducing levels of active depression. The robustness of these findings is discussed alongside the implications for research and practice within the context of the current literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-299
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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