Effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers
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Philippa Appleton, Emily Barrasin, Abbie Hepworth, Damien Appleton, Rosie Lesley, Steve Melluish, Effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers. Mental Health Practice November 2019.
Background Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based intervention that teaches participants skills in reducing stress and managing challenging emotions in a group setting. Mindfulness-based therapies have demonstrated effectiveness in various populations, and therefore may be beneficial for family carers. Aim To deliver and appraise a pilot MBSR group programme for family carers of adults and children with a mental health condition, physical health condition or learning disability. Method This was a mixed-methods study in which an eight-week MBSR group programme was delivered to 13 family carer participants. Quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire before and after completion of the programme and at two-month follow up. The measures used were carers’ mental well-being, ability to use core mindfulness skills, quality of life and happiness. Quantitative and qualitative data were also collected from six of the participants two years after completion of the group using the questionnaire measures and semi-structured interviews. Findings The MBSR group programme led to a significant improvement in participants’ ability to use mindfulness skills. There was also a positive trend in measures of carers’ mental well-being and quality of life, but this did not reach statistical significance. Some family carers continued to experience beneficial effects of mindfulness in their roles as carers and in other aspects of their lives two years after completing the programme. Conclusion This study focused on family carers, which is a group that has received little research attention. It identified that the MBSR group programme was effective in improving participants’ ability to use mindfulness skills, with some of them also experiencing long-term benefits of mindfulness.