The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on depression, anxiety, and stress in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Simon Yat Ho Li, Daniel Bressington

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been widely used to improve various physical and mental conditions. Studies show the intervention is particularly effective in alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress in working-aged adults. No recent systematic review has focused on the use of MBSR in older adults. This study aims to examine the effects of MBSR intervention on depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms of older adults. Five electronic databases were searched for relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published between 1990 and 2017. Six eligible studies were included and computed for meta-analysis. The methodological quality and risk of biases across the included RCTs were assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool. Overall, the amount of evidence is limited and of relatively low quality. The results of this review provide evidence that the MBSR is more effective than wait-list-control group to reduce depression in older adults with clinically significant symptoms immediately following the intervention. However, there is no clear evidence that the intervention reduced the perception of stress and anxiety, or that positive effects are maintained over the longer term. More robust studies involving larger sample sizes and using longer follow-up measurements are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-656
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mindfulness
  • older adults
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

Cite this