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Efficacy of Internet-Delivered Mindfulness for Improving Depression in Caregivers of People With Spinal Cord Injuries and Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial

Hearn, Jasmine and Cotter, Imogen and Finlay, Katherine (2018) Efficacy of Internet-Delivered Mindfulness for Improving Depression in Caregivers of People With Spinal Cord Injuries and Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 100 (1). pp. 17-25. ISSN 0003-9993

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Abstract

Objectives To explore the feasibility and efficacy of web-based mindfulness training for carers of people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design Randomized controlled feasibility study with 3-month follow-up. Setting Community setting. Participants Spouses or family caregivers (N=55) of people with SCI and chronic neuropathic pain were recruited via the direct care team and advertisements. Participants were older than 18 years (no upper age limit), with Internet access for the duration of the study. Participants were randomly allocated to an 8-week online mindfulness training intervention (n=28), or to receive 8 weeks of psychoeducational materials on SCI and chronic pain (n=27). Interventions An established web-based, mindfulness training course was delivered over 8 weeks. Participants completed 10 minutes of mindfulness practices, twice per day, 6 days per week, totaling 960 minutes. The control group received a weekly e-mail with psychoeducational materials (based on the established elements) on SCI and pain for 8 weeks. Main Outcome Measure Depression severity. Results Mindfulness reduced depression severity more than psychoeducation at T2 (mean difference= −.891; 95% confidence interval,−1.48 to −.30) and T3 (mean difference=−1.96; 95% confidence interval, −2.94 to −.97). Mindfulness training also reduced anxiety at T2 (mean difference=−.888; 95% confidence interval, −1.40 to −.38) and T3 (mean difference=−2.44; 95% confidence interval, −3.20 to −1.69). Conclusions Results indicate that Internet-delivered mindfulness training offers unique benefits and is viable for caregivers of people with SCI and chronic neuropathic pain. Further work should explore the feasibility of combined education and mindfulness training incorporating both patient and caregiver, for optimum benefit.

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