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Original article
Effect of mindfulness training on asthma quality of life and lung function: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Lori Pbert1,
  2. J Mark Madison2,
  3. Susan Druker1,
  4. Nicholas Olendzki1,
  5. Robert Magner1,
  6. George Reed1,
  7. Jeroan Allison3,
  8. James Carmody1
  1. 1Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Carmody, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA; james.carmody{at}


Background This study evaluated the efficacy of a mindfulness training programme (mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)) in improving asthma-related quality of life and lung function in patients with asthma.

Methods A randomised controlled trial compared an 8-week MBSR group-based programme (n=42) with an educational control programme (n=41) in adults with mild, moderate or severe persistent asthma recruited at a university hospital outpatient primary care and pulmonary care clinic. Primary outcomes were quality of life (Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire) and lung function (change from baseline in 2-week average morning peak expiratory flow (PEF)). Secondary outcomes were asthma control assessed by 2007 National Institutes of Health/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute guidelines, and stress (Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 10 weeks, 6 and 12 months.

Results At 12 months MBSR resulted in clinically significant improvements from baseline in quality of life (differential change in Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score for MBSR vs control: 0.66 (95% CI 0.30 to 1.03; p<0.001)) but not in lung function (morning PEF, PEF variability and forced expiratory volume in 1 s). MBSR also resulted in clinically significant improvements in perceived stress (differential change in PSS score for MBSR vs control: −4.5 (95% CI −7.1 to −1.9; p=0.001)). There was no significant difference (p=0.301) in percentage of patients in MBSR with well controlled asthma (7.3% at baseline to 19.4%) compared with the control condition (7.5% at baseline to 7.9%).

Conclusions MBSR produced lasting and clinically significant improvements in asthma-related quality of life and stress in patients with persistent asthma, without improvements in lung function.

Clinical Trial Registration Number Asthma and Mindfulness-Based Reduction (MBSR) Identifier: NCT00682669.

  • Asthma
  • mindfulness training
  • quality of life
  • lung function
  • stress
  • asthma guidelines
  • respiratory measurement

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  • Funding Study supported by grant R21 AT002938 (awarded to Drs Pbert and Carmody) from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The sponsor provided financial support only and had no role in the design, conduct, data collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the study; or in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Drs Pbert and Carmody had full access to all of the data and take responsibility for the integrity and the accuracy of the data and analysis.

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