Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Bibliotherapy
AuthorOren, Yelena Kholodenko
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Stress is part of human daily life and although some stress is beneficial for improved performance, excessive or prolonged periods of stress have been linked to negative health and psychological outcomes. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in its traditional group workshop format has been used for the past 30 years. MBSR has been shown to be effective in reducing perceived stress as well as symptoms of physiological and psychological conditions including cancer, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth, chronic medical disease, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and improve overall health and quality of life. Similar to other treatments, MBSR has a number of obstacles to accessibility of treatment such as stigma, geographical and financial barriers. MBSR workbook can address all of these limitations and, hence, enhance dissemination of potentially effective treatment. However, similar to other self-help interventions, even those based on the empirically-based treatments, the MBSR bibliotherapy does not yet have empirical evidence to support its effectiveness. The current study examined feasibility and effectiveness of the MBSR bibliotherapy through a randomized control trial with bibliotherapy and non-treatment control groups. The results showed that participants were able and willing to follow the workbook over a period of 10 weeks with the participants who completed weekly follow-up assessments an average of 76.5 percent reported reading at least 50 percent of the book and an average of 58.6 percent reported completing at least 50 percent of the writing exercises from the workbook. Furthermore the MBSR bibliotherapy showed to be effective in reducing symptoms of psychopathology and improving quality of life. Overall, findings were consistent with the effects of the MBSR program in its traditional in-person group workshop reported in the literature. These findings provide scientific support for the use MBSR bibliotherapy as an adjunct, self-guided, or a stepped-care intervention, which creates opportunities for wider utilization while addressing geographical, financial and stigma barriers.