Publication Date



BMC Psychology


BACKGROUND: Depressive symptoms are a significant psychological complication of stroke, impacting both survivors and informal caregivers of survivors. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine optimal non-pharmacological strategies to prevent or ameliorate depressive symptoms in stroke survivors and their informal caregivers.

METHODS: A prospective, randomized, parallel-group, single-center, feasibility study. Participants were assigned to a 4-week meditation intervention or expressive writing control group. The intervention comprised four facilitator-led group meditation sessions, one session per week and building upon prior session(s). Descriptive statistics were used to examine the proportion of eligible individuals who enrolled, retention and adherence rates, and the proportion of questionnaires completed. Data were collected at baseline, immediately after the 4-week intervention period, and 4 and 8 weeks after the intervention period. Secondary analysis tested for changes in symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression [CES-D]), anxiety [State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI)], and pain (Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form) in the intervention group via paired t tests. Linear mixed models were used to compare longitudinal changes in the measures between the groups. Intervention and trial design acceptability were preliminary explored.

RESULTS: Seventy-one (77%) individuals enrolled and 26 (37%) completed the study (baseline and 8-week post-intervention visits completed). Forty-two (66%) participants completed baseline and immediate post-intervention visits. Mean questionnaire completion rate was 95%. The median meditation group session attendance rate for the intervention group was 75.0%, and the mean attendance rate was 55%. Non-significant reductions in CES-D scores were found. Paired t tests for stroke survivors indicated a significant reduction from baseline through week 8 in BPI-sf severity scores (p = 0.0270). Repeated measures analysis with linear mixed models for informal caregivers indicated a significant reduction in in STAI-Trait scores (F [3,16.2] = 3.28, p = 0.0479) and paired t test showed a significant reduction from baseline to week 4 in STAI-Trait scores (mean = - 9.1250, 95% CI [- 16.8060 to 1.4440], p = 0.0262). No between-group differences were found.

CONCLUSIONS: Future trials will require strategies to optimize retention and adherence before definitive efficacy testing of the meditation intervention.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT03239132. Registration date: 03/08/2017.


Adult, Humans, Caregivers, Feasibility Studies, Meditation, Pain, Prospective Studies, Stroke, Survivors

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