Mindfulness and Self-Compassion in Clinical Psychiatric Rehabilitation: a Clinical Trial

Abstract

Objectives

Previous research has suggested Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) as being beneficial for people dealing with a variety of mental health issues in outpatient area.

Method

A clinical trial was conducted with 200 psychiatric inpatients testing the efficacy of a specially designed 6-week MSC program compared with a control intervention of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Each session lasted 75 min and took place once a week for each of the study groups. The primary end-point was the change in the self-compassion scale (SCS) total score from pre- to post treatment. Secondary end-points included changes in the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36), the Global Severity Index (GSI) of the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18), and subjective feeling of happiness (single item).

Results

Of the 200 randomly assigned participants, the MSC group (M = 2.90, SD = 0.5) showed a significant improvement in SCS (F(1,198) = 25.57, p < .01, η2 = 0.11) after 6 weeks in comparison with the PMR group (M = 2.57, SD = 0.6, p > .05). Correspondingly, the MSC group stated a greater amount of happiness in comparison to the PMR group (p < .05). Furthermore, the GSI and SF-36 parameters improved in both study groups to the same extent during the 6-week treatment (p < .01).

Conclusions

These preliminary data suggest the clinical applicability of MSC in psychiatric patient groups, which merits further large-scale studies.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Nikolas Bonatos for critically reading the manuscript and we would also like to acknowledge Fedor Daghofer for his support in statistical analysis.

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Authors

Contributions

LG and HFU conceptualized the work. LG, HFU, PK, EP, and AA acquired the data, analyzed and interpreted the data. LG and HFU drafted and revised the article. SH and HPK critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors gave their final approval of the manuscript.

There was no external funding for this study.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Human-Friedrich Unterrainer.

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Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board of the Medical University Graz in compliance with the current revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, ICG guideline for Good Clinical Practice and current regulations (EK-number: 28-019 ex 15/16) and is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (Identifiers: NCT02578433, Unique Protocol ID: ECS 1392/2015, brief title: Mindful Self Compassion in Rehabilitation Inpatients). Furthermore, the study was approved by the review board of the “Land Burgenland.”

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Gaiswinkler, L., Kaufmann, P., Pollheimer, E. et al. Mindfulness and Self-Compassion in Clinical Psychiatric Rehabilitation: a Clinical Trial. Mindfulness 11, 374–383 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01171-1

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Keywords

  • Self-compassion
  • Mindfulness
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Psychological well-being