For patients with diabetes and low levels of emotional well-being, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) improves emotional distress and health-related quality of life, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

To examine the effect of MBCT on emotional distress, health-related quality of life, and glycemic control, Jenny van Son, MSc, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of 139 outpatients with type 1 or 2 diabetes and low levels of emotional well-being who received either MBCT (70 patients) or a waiting list (69 patients). At baseline and four and eight weeks of follow-up, assessments were conducted.

MBCT was significantly more effective at decreasing stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. MBCT also correlated with significantly improved physical and mental quality of life. MBCT had no significant effect on glycemic control, but patients with elevated diabetes distress had a trend toward reduced diabetes distress in the MBCT versus the control group.

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“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first randomized trial to find immediate effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on emotional well-being and quality of life in outpatients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” van Son and colleagues conclude.