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Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Randomised Trial

Abstract

Fibromyalgia syndrome has a strong clinical and social impact affecting the personal, family and working life of the sufferer. The presence of depressive symptoms is associated with decreased quality of life and an increase in the intensity of pain. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in reducing the impact of fibromyalgia, the depressive symptoms and the intensity of pain in women with fibromyalgia. An experimental pre-post treatment design with a 3-month follow-up was carried out. Female patients (N = 33) were randomised to MBCT or to a control group condition. MBCT is an 8-week group intervention. Measures included: Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory and Visual Analogue Scale. Substantial differences were found in the reduction of the impact of fibromyalgia after treatment and in the decrease in depressive symptoms decrease in the follow-up. A slight decrease was observed in intensity of pain in different body areas although there were no significant differences between the groups. The study findings suggest that depressive symptoms and the impact of the illness were reduced in the MBCT group of women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. These changes were maintained during the 3-month follow up. No significant changes were found in the reduction of intensity of pain. The limitations of this study were analysed and possible improvements for future research were considered.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to give our thanks to the Fibromyalgia Association of Almansa for their collaboration and a special warm thank you to all those who participated in our study.

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Correspondence to Marta Parra-Delgado.

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Parra-Delgado, M., Latorre-Postigo, J.M. Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Randomised Trial. Cogn Ther Res 37, 1015–1026 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-013-9538-z

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Pain