Consolidation and prediction of long-term treatment effect of group and online mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for distressed cancer patients

L. Cillessen, M. P. J. Schellekens, M. O. M. Van De Ven, A. R. T. Donders, F. R. Compen, E. M. Bisseling, M. L. Van Der Lee, A. E. M. Speckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Group face-to-face and individual internet-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT and eMBCT) have been demonstrated to reduce psychological distress for distressed cancer patients in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This study focused on the long-term effects of this RCT during the nine-month follow-up period, and on possible predictors, moderators and working mechanisms.

Distressed cancer patients (n = 245) were randomized to MBCT or eMBCT. Data were collected at baseline, post-treatment, three- and nine-month follow-up. Data were analyzed with linear mixed effect models and (hierarchical) linear regressions.

Results: Analyses revealed long-term reductions in psychological distress and rumination, and long-term increases in positive mental health and mental health-related quality of life (QoL) in both interventions over the course of the nine-month follow-up. Interestingly, patients reported less psychological distress in the follow-up period after eMBCT in comparison to MBCT. Less psychological distress, rumination and neuroticism, and more extraversion and agreeableness at baseline predicted less psychological distress at the nine-month follow-up after both interventions. Less mindful and conscientious patients at baseline benefited more from eMBCT than from MBCT. Regarding working mechanisms, changes in mindfulness skills, fear of cancer recurrence and rumination during both interventions predicted less psychological distress at follow-up.

Our findings suggest most improvements in cancer patients’ increase over time after both interventions. Furthermore, patients seemed to benefit more from eMBCT than MBCT based on psychological distress levels, especially those patients with low levels of mindfulness skills and conscientiousness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1302
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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