The BeMind project focused on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for cancer patients. Among other things, the project tested whether the MBCT program could also be delivered in an online format. The online MBCT had the same content as the group MBCT, except that the online MBCT included individual, written conversations with a mindfulness therapist. The most important research question was: are both group and online MBCT more effective in reducing psychological symptoms in comparison to usual care. The follow-up project, BeMind 2.0, focuses on whether the reduction in psychological distress consolidates over time, and the working mechanisms of both versions of MBCT.
Patients participating in MBCT reported less psychological symptoms directly after the training in comparison to patients who received usual care. It did not matter what kind of MBCT (group or online) they received. However, participants in online MBCT dropped out of the training more frequently. Interviews with participants in online MBCT revealed that personal preference is indicate for the type of treatment preferred. Some participants liked the individual contact, while others missed the contact with other participants. Furthermore, some participants liked the interpersonal distance in the online MBCT, while others missed direct interaction with the trainer.
Around one in three cancer patients has significant psychological symptoms. Previous research learned us MBCT could reduce these psychological symptoms in cancer patients, suggesting further research on this topic could be valuable. Furthermore, we know that cancer patients experience difficulties to come to a certain location for MBCT, due to their disease symptoms, hospital appointments, lack of mobility and fatigue. Therefore, we wanted to research whether MBCT could be effective when patients participate in the program from home, in their own pace.
The current project looked at clinical and cost effectiveness of both types of MBCT, in comparison to usual care, directly after the training, and 3 and 9 months later.
Cancer patients, regardless of prognosis or treatment phase, who experienced at least mild psychological symptoms at the start of the study. Patients with acute and severe psychological conditions (e.g. suicidality) were excluded from participation.
Participants were randomly distributed over one of three groups: group MBCT, online MBCT, or usual care. Group or online MBCT was provided after three months of usual care. Participants were interviewed before, during and after the MBCT, including a 3 and 9 month follow-up. Furthermore, patients completed various questionnaires about psychological symptoms, rumination, fear of cancer recurrence, positive mental health, mindfulness skills and quality of life.
Data collection was finished in December 2015. Currently, the researchers are reporting and presenting the results of the project.
Félix Compen and Else Bisseling set up and carried out the BeMind project. Currently, they are reporting and presenting their results. Linda Cillessen will continue with BeMind 2.0, she will report on the follow-up results of the BeMind project.
Face-to-Face and Internet-Based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Compared With Treatment as Usual in Reducing Psychological Distress in Patients With Cancer: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial