Mindfulness is a concept of growing impact on psychotherapy and has been shown to be effective for stress reduction and to improve psychological well-being. Existential Behavioural Therapy (EBT) was developed to support relatives of palliative care (PC) patients to cope with their situation during caregiving and bereavement. Mindfulness training was a core element of the intervention.
We investigated the relationship between mindfulness, mental distress, and psychological well-being in informal caregivers, and evaluated if the effects of the intervention were mediated by mindfulness.Methods:
Relatives of PC inpatients took part in a randomized-controlled EBT trial and completed the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, items from the Five Facets of Mindfulness as well as the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the WHOQOL-BREF, a numerical rating scale on quality of life (range 0–10), and the Schedule for Meaning in Life Evaluation at pre- and post-intervention, and a 3- and 12-months follow-up.Results:
One-hundred-and-thirty carers were included, most of them (71.6%) recently being bereaved at the beginning of the intervention. High correlations between mindfulness and mental distress (r = −0.51, p < 0.001) as well as life satisfaction (r = 0.52, p < 0.001) were found. Mindfulness was a significant predictor of improvement in psychological distress, meaning in life and quality of life three months after the intervention. The EBT effects were partly mediated by mindfulness.Significance of results:
Mindfulness seems to be a promising concept in supporting informal caregivers of PC patients. Further research is needed to identify the required format and intensity of mindfulness practice necessary for improvement.