Telephone-adapted Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (tMBSR) for patients awaiting kidney transplantation

Cynthia R. Gross, Maryanne Reilly-Spong, Taehwan Park, Ruizhi Zhao, Olga V. Gurvich, Hassan N. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background Patients with progressive kidney disease experience increasing physiologic and psychosocial stressors and declining health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Methods We conducted a randomized, active-controlled, open-label trial to test whether a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program delivered in a novel workshop-teleconference format would reduce symptoms and improve HRQOL in patients awaiting kidney transplantation. Sixty-three transplant candidates were randomized to one of two arms: i) telephone-adapted MBSR (tMBSR, an 8-week program of meditation and yoga); or ii) a telephone-based support group (tSupport). Participants completed self-report questionnaires at baseline, post-intervention, and after 6-months. Anxiety, measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) post-intervention served as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included: depression, sleep quality, pain, fatigue, and HRQOL assessed by SF-12 Physical and Mental Component Summaries (PCS, MCS). Results 55 patients (age 54 ± 12 yrs) attended their assigned program (tMBSR, n = 27; tSupport, n = 28). 49% of patients had elevated anxiety at baseline. Changes in anxiety were small and did not differ by treatment group post-intervention or at follow-up. However, tMBSR significantly improved mental HRQOL at follow-up: + 6.2 points on the MCS - twice the minimum clinically important difference (95% CI: 1.66 to 10.8, P = 0.01). A large percentage of tMBSR participants (≥ 90%) practiced mindfulness and reported it helpful for stress management. Conclusions Neither mindfulness training nor a support group resulted in clinically meaningful reductions in anxiety. In contrast, finding that tMBSR was more effective than tSupport for bolstering mental HRQOL during the wait for a kidney transplant is encouraging and warrants further investigation. NCT01254214.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Award P01 DK013083 and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Health-related quality of life (HRQOL)
  • Kidney transplantation
  • MBSR
  • Mindfulness
  • Telemedicine
  • Telepsychology


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