, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 2522–2531 | Cite as

Adapting Mindfulness to Engage Latinos and Improve Mental Health in Primary Care: a Pilot Study

  • J. Alexis Ortiz
  • Bruce W. Smith
  • Brian M. Shelley
  • Kelly S. EricksonEmail author



Latinos comprise a sizeable and growing population that experiences unmet health needs and health inequities. Mindfulness-based interventions may be a cost-effective way to address mental health problems in primary care. We sought to adapt a mindfulness-based intervention to better serve and improve the mental health of Latinos in the primary care setting.


The authors employed a unique set of adaptations to increase retention and engagement of Latinos in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention. These adaptations included (1) group motivational interviewing, (2) problem-solving barriers to retention, (3) a testimonial by a prior Latino MBSR participant, and (4) modifications to increase perceived applicability of MBSR for Latinos. Thirty Latino participants were recruited for an 8-week mindfulness intervention adapted (MBSR-A) specifically for Latino populations.


Twenty-six out of thirty (87%) participants completed at least five of the eight sessions, which was significantly greater than in previous studies targeting Latino participants (60–66%). Of those who completed and provided pre- and post-data, there were decreases in anxiety and depression, and increases in measures of general mental health and physical health.


The adaptations utilized in this pilot study may increase retention and engagement of Latinos in mindfulness-based interventions and may be a cost-effective way to reduce mental health problems in this growing population.


Latino Hispanic Mindfulness Primary care Anxiety Depression 



The authors wish to thank Beth Roth for her inspiring pioneering work in this area, First Choice Community Healthcare, and all the participants who gave their time and effort to be involved in this study.

Author Contributions

JAO: created MBSR-A adaptations, selected measures, recruited participants, facilitated MBSR-A groups, analyzed data, wrote and revised the manuscript, and oversaw first submission. BWS: provided critical mentorship and feedback through all processes, assisted JAO in writing Results, Introduction, and Discussion sections. BMS: assisted in the recruitment and running of the MBSR-A groups, writing the Method section, and editing. KE: did an initial update of the manuscript, handled all aspect of the revise and resubmit process: literature review, editing, and all analyses.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of New Mexico Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Alexis Ortiz
    • 1
  • Bruce W. Smith
    • 2
  • Brian M. Shelley
    • 3
  • Kelly S. Erickson
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of New Mexico School of MedicineAlbuquerqueUSA

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