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

37 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


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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