Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 1004–1014 | Cite as

Cognitive Functioning in Patients Remitted from Recurrent Depression: Comparison with Acutely Depressed Patients and Controls and Follow-up of a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Trial

  • F. Jermann
  • M. Van der Linden
  • M. Gex-Fabry
  • A. Guarin
  • M. Kosel
  • G. Bertschy
  • J. -M. Aubry
  • G. Bondolfi
Original Article


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising intervention to prevent depressive relapse. Yet beyond efficacy studies, little is known regarding the mechanisms that could be modified through MBCT. Objectives of the present study were twofold: determine whether cognitive functioning was altered among patients remitted from depression at admission in a MBCT trial; and document possible changes during the trial and follow-up. In a cross-sectional perspective, cognitive functioning (autobiographical memory, shifting capacities, dysfunctional attitudes, mindful attention awareness and rumination habits) was first compared between 36 patients remitted from depression, 20 acutely depressed patients and 20 control participants. In a longitudinal perspective, changes in the remitted sample were explored during a MBCT plus Treatment As Usual versus Treatment As Usual randomized controlled trial and 9-month follow-up. Performances of remitted patients were similar to the ones of control participants for autobiographical memories, shifting capacities, and mindful attention awareness, whereas levels of rumination and dysfunctional attitudes were significantly elevated. Participation in the MBCT program was accompanied with a significant decrease of dysfunctional attitudes that continued up to 9-month postintervention. No other change was observed that was specific to MBCT. Results suggest that MBCT might help people to identify dysfunctional attitudes at a very early stage and to avoid engaging further in these attitudes.


Mindfulness  Depression  Remission  Cognitive functioning 



This study was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant no. 3200BO-108432 to Guido Bondolfi, Gilles Bertschy, Jean-Michel Aubry and Martial Van der Linden). The authors would like to thank the MBCT instructors L. Bizzini, L. Myers Arrazola and B. Weber, as well as C. Gonzalez for her help in data collection. They would also like to thank Sandra Ter Pelle for her expert technical support in preparing this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest in this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Jermann
    • 1
  • M. Van der Linden
    • 2
  • M. Gex-Fabry
    • 1
  • A. Guarin
    • 1
  • M. Kosel
    • 1
  • G. Bertschy
    • 3
  • J. -M. Aubry
    • 1
  • G. Bondolfi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health and PsychiatryGeneva University HospitalGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Cognitive Psychopathology and Neuropsychology UnitUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, INSERM U 666Strasbourg University HospitalStrasbourgFrance

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