Relative effectiveness of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral interventions for anxiety disorders: meta-analytic review

SINGH Samina K., GOREY Kevin M.
Journal article citation:
Social Work in Mental Health, 16(2), 2018, pp.238-251.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

Increasingly popular mindfulness intervention innovations seem demonstrably effective in alleviating anxiety among people with anxiety disorders. However, the basis of such primary and synthetic evidence has, for the most part, been comparisons with non-active comparison conditions such as waiting lists. The longest-standing and strongest evidence-informed practices in this field have been cognitive behavioural interventions (CBI). This meta-analysis synthesised evidence from nine randomided trials of the relative effectiveness of mindfulness interventions compared to CBIs (i.e., active control groups) in treating anxiety disorders. The sample-weighted synthesis found no statistically or practically significant differences between the two groups on anxiety alleviation: Cohen’s d = - 0.02 (95% confidence interval = - 0.16, 0.12). Both groups enjoyed large clinical benefits. However, because mindfulness methods may require less professional training and take less time for both workers and clients to master, they are probably less expensive to provide. As they are probably less expensive, but equally effective, it seems that, in a cost-beneficial sense, mindfulness interventions may be more practically effective. These review-generated meta-analytic findings and inferences may be best thought of as developed hypotheses for future research testing. These and other future research needs are discussed. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
anxiety, cognitive behavioural therapy, therapies, mindfulness, intervention, cost effectiveness, social work methods, social work, evidence-based practice, evaluation, mental health problems;
Content type:
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