Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 1063–1071 | Cite as

Comparison of the acceptability and benefits of two mindfulness-based interventions in women with breast or gynecologic cancer: a pilot study

  • Lesley Stafford
  • Naomi Thomas
  • Elizabeth Foley
  • Fiona Judd
  • Penny Gibson
  • Angela Komiti
  • Jeremy Couper
  • Litza Kiropoulos
Original Article



The aim of this study was to compare the relative benefits and acceptability of two different group-based mindfulness psychotherapy interventions among women with breast and gynecologic cancer.


Data from 42 women who completed an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program comprising 22 contact hours were compared to data from 24 women who completed a 6-week mindfulness meditation program (MMP) comprising 9 contact hours. Distress, quality of life (QOL), and mindfulness were evaluated pre- (T1) and post-intervention (T2). ANCOVA was used to analyse the relationship between intervention type and T1 score on outcome variable change scores. Participants’ perceptions of benefit and acceptability were assessed.


The participants did not differ on clinical or demographic variables other than MBCT participants were more likely than MMP participants to have a past history of anxiety or depression (p = .01). Scores on distress, QOL, and mindfulness improved from T1 to T2 with medium to large effect sizes for the MMP (p = .002, d = .07; p = .001, d = .08; p = .005, d = .06, respectively) and MBCT (p < .001, d = .06; p = .008, d = .04; p < .001, d = .09, respectively) interventions. ANCOVA showed no main effect for intervention type on outcome change scores and no interaction between intervention type and respective T1 score. Distress and mindfulness scores at T1 had a main effect on respective change scores (p = .02, ηp 2 = .87; p = .01, ηp 2 = .80, respectively). Both programs were perceived as beneficial and acceptable with no differences between the intervention types.


Within the limits of a small, non-randomized study, these findings provide preliminary support for the utility of a brief mindfulness intervention for improving distress and QOL in a heterogeneous group of women with cancer. Abbreviated interventions are less resource intensive and may be attractive to very unwell patients.


Oncology Cancer Mindfulness Distress Quality of life Cognitive therapy 



This study was supported by funding from the Collier Charitable Foundation and the Preston and Loui Geduld Trust. The Centre for Women’s Mental Health is supported by the Pratt Foundation. The authors acknowledge Dr Enza de Pino’s contribution to the development of the first six-session mindfulness intervention.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have a financial relationship with the Pratt Foundation, the Collier Charitable Trust or the Preston and Loui Geduld Trust. The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review these data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lesley Stafford
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Naomi Thomas
    • 1
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Foley
    • 4
  • Fiona Judd
    • 1
    • 3
  • Penny Gibson
    • 1
  • Angela Komiti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jeremy Couper
    • 5
    • 6
  • Litza Kiropoulos
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Centre for Women’s Mental HealthRoyal Women’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne School of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Mind Potential, Shop 2CaringbahAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, Psycho-Oncology Research UnitPeter MacCallum Cancer CentreMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Melbourne, St Vincent’s HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  7. 7.Psychology DepartmentRoyal Melbourne HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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