Randomised controlled trials (RCT) that compared mindfulness-based stress reduction with control in adult patients with a chronic medical disease were eligible. Studies had to report sufficient data to enable the calculation of standardised effect sizes.
The term chronic illness in this review referred to any conditions which involved some disability, caused by irreversible pathological changes, which also included cancer. The outcomes of interest were overall psychological distress, depression and anxiety. Most participants were women and had a mean age between 45 and 55. Studies included patients with a variety of chronic medical conditions namely cancer, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and rheumatoid arthritis. Seven studies used waiting list control and one study used education support group as a control. All included studies used different outcome measurement tools to assess the level of anxiety and depression.
Two reviewers were involved in the study selection; any disagreements were resolved by consensus.