Among patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), participation in an online mindfulness training program, whether full-length or brief, was found to improve symptoms of emotional distress, according to data from an analysis presented at the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) 2021 Virtual Congress, held from June 2 to 5, 2021.

The analysis included adult patients with RMDs in the US in the ArthritisPower registry who were invited to participate in the Healthy Mind Healthy You study.

Recognizing that more research is necessary to identify the ideal duration of mindfulness training needed to achieve both short-term and long-term benefits, the authors sought to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of full-length vs brief mindfulness training programs for improving anxiety among patients with RMDs.

Continue Reading

Using the Healthy Mind Healthy You study, researchers compared 2 online mindfulness training programs of different lengths, both of which were assessed using the MoodNetwork platform. The brief evidence-based mindfulness program ran for 3 weeks and the full-length mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program ran for 8 weeks. Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of the programs and completed evaluations every 2 weeks during the program, then every 4 weeks during the 12-week follow-up.

A variety of assessments were used to evaluate the outcomes, including World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index; Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire; Perceived Stress Scale; PROMIS Short Form for Anxiety; and PROMIS Short Form for Depression. Demographic features and assessment scores were evaluated based on the length of the program.

A total of 324 and 70 patients completed assessments at baseline and week 8, respectively; attrition rate was 78% in each of the program arms. Overall, the majority of the participants were women and White; 67% of participants were aged between 45 and 64 years.

Results of the analysis showed no statistically significant differences at baseline between the participants in each of the 2 programs, as well as in their assessment scores at week 8. For patients in both of the programs, PROMIS Anxiety and Depression scores improved from baseline to week 8. Mean PROMIS Depression scores improved from 58.4±7.7 at baseline to 55.4±7.2 at week 8 — a statistically significant difference (P =.018) among the 70 patients who reported their scores at both time points.

Overall, the mindfulness training program, whether full-length or brief, appeared to improve symptoms of emotional distress among patients with RMDs.

Study authors concluded, “People living with RMD who are part of a real-world US registry are willing to participate in an online mindfulness training program study, but may require additional support to remain engaged and adherent throughout the program and to participate to study conclusion.”

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures. 


Thompson J, Parikh N, Gavigan K, Venkatachalam S, Nowell WB. A mindfulness program dosing study to evaluate improvement in emotional distress among people with rheumatic disease. Presented at: EULAR 2021 Virtual Congress; June 2-5, 2021. Abstract #OPO280.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor