Sustained Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction Intervention in Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Design and first results of a randomized controlled trial (the Heidelberger Diabetes and Stress-Study)

  1. Peter P. Nawroth, MD2
  1. 1Department of Medicine II and Psychosomatics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Medicine I and Clinical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  3. 3Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  4. 4Institute of Medical Biometry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  1. Corresponding author: Mechthild Hartmann, mechthild.hartmann{at}
  1. M.H., S.K., and C.K. contributed equally to this study.


OBJECTIVE To determine whether a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention is effective for reducing psychosocial distress (i.e., depression, psychosocial stress) and the progression of nephropathy (i.e., albuminuria) and for improving the subjective health status of patients with type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Patients with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria were randomized to a mindfulness-based intervention (n = 53) or a treatment-as-usual control (n = 57) group. The study is designed to investigate long-term outcomes over a period of 5 years. We present data up to the first year of follow-up (FU).

RESULTS At FU, the MBSR group showed lower levels of depression (d = 0.71) and improved health status (d = 0.54) compared with the control group. No significant differences in albuminuria were found. Per-protocol analysis also showed higher stress reduction in the intervention group (d = 0.64).

CONCLUSIONS MBSR intervention achieved a prolonged reduction in psychosocial distress. The effects on albuminuria will be followed up further.


  • Received July 17, 2011.
  • Accepted January 9, 2012.

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