THURSDAY, Jan. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can impact how individuals with recurrent depressive disorder relate to themselves, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Counseling & Psychotherapy Research.

Elisabeth Schanche, Ph.D., from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues randomly assigned 68 individuals with recurrent depressive disorder to either MBCT or a waiting-list condition (WLC) to examine the effect of MBCT on self-inadequacy, self-hate, and the ability to self-reassure. At follow-up after six, 12, and 24 months, participants in the MBCT intervention group were assessed for depressive relapse.

The researchers found that completers of MBCT (26 participants) showed a significant improvement in Reassure self and a significant reduction in Inadequate self compared with those in the WLC (30 participants; d = 0.69 and 0.51, respectively), as measured with the Forms of Self Criticizing and Reassuring Scale. No significant changes were seen in Hated self. Nonoccurrence of depressive relapse within a period of two years after the MBCT intervention was predicted by improvements in the Reassure self during the intervention.

“The findings of this study support MBCT as targeting various dimensions of self-criticism in individuals prone to repeated depressive relapse,” the authors write. “This is of importance, as self-criticism seems to be a vulnerability factor for developing depressive episodes.”

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