Effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers
evidence and practice    

Effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers

Philippa Appleton Consultant psychologist, APM Workcare, Auckland, New Zealand
Emily Barrasin Trainee clinical psychologist, Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, England
Abbie Hepworth Assistant psychologist, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire, England
Damien Appleton Clinical neuropsychologist, Committee for Health and Social Care, States of Guernsey, St Peter Port, Guernsey
Rosie Lesley Assistant psychologist, Committee for Health and Social Care, States of Guernsey, St Peter Port, Guernsey
Steve Melluish Director of clinical practice and consultant clinical psychologist, University of Leicester, Leicester, England

Why you should read this article
  • To ensure your knowledge of the use of mindfulness in clinical practice is up to date and based on the latest evidence

  • To enhance your understanding of the components of mindfulness-based therapies

  • To recognise the potential benefits of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers

Background Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based intervention that teaches participants skills in reducing stress and managing challenging emotions in a group setting. Mindfulness-based therapies have demonstrated effectiveness in various populations, and therefore may be beneficial for family carers.

Aim To deliver and appraise a pilot MBSR group programme for family carers of adults and children with a mental health condition, physical health condition or learning disability.

Method This was a mixed-methods study in which an eight-week MBSR group programme was delivered to 13 family carer participants. Quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire before and after completion of the programme and at two-month follow up. The measures used were carers’ mental well-being, ability to use core mindfulness skills, quality of life and happiness. Quantitative and qualitative data were also collected from six of the participants two years after completion of the group using the questionnaire measures and semi-structured interviews.

Findings The MBSR group programme led to a significant improvement in participants’ ability to use mindfulness skills. There was also a positive trend in measures of carers’ mental well-being and quality of life, but this did not reach statistical significance. Some family carers continued to experience beneficial effects of mindfulness in their roles as carers and in other aspects of their lives two years after completing the programme.

Conclusion This study focused on family carers, which is a group that has received little research attention. It identified that the MBSR group programme was effective in improving participants’ ability to use mindfulness skills, with some of them also experiencing long-term benefits of mindfulness.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1362

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

drpipappleton@gmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Appleton P, Barrasin E, Hepworth A et al (2019) Effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction group programme on family carers. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1362

Published online: 25 November 2019