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A systematic review and meta-analysis of meditative interventions for informal caregivers and health professionals
  1. Marisa Dharmawardene1,
  2. Jane Givens2,3,
  3. Amy Wachholtz4,
  4. Suzana Makowski5 and
  5. Jennifer Tjia5,6
  1. 1Division of Palliative Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Division of Gerontology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5Division of Palliative Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6Division of Epidemiology and Chronic Diseases, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Tjia, Division of Epidemiology and Chronic Diseases, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Albert Sherman Building, 368 Plantation Street, AS8-2068, Worcester, MA 01605, USA; jennifer.tjia{at}umassmed.edu

Abstract

Background Burnout, stress and anxiety have been identified as areas of concern for informal caregivers and health professionals, particularly in the palliative setting. Meditative interventions are gaining acceptance as tools to improve well-being in a variety of clinical contexts, however, their effectiveness as an intervention for caregivers remains unknown.

Aim To explore the effect of meditative interventions on physical and emotional markers of well-being as well as job satisfaction and burnout among informal caregivers and health professionals.

Design Systematic review of randomised clinical trials and pre–post intervention studies with meditative interventions for caregivers.

Data sources PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched up to November 2013. Of 1561 abstracts returned, 68 studies were examined in full text with 27 eligible for systematic review.

Results Controlled trials of informal caregivers showed statistically significant improvement in depression (effect size 0.49 (95% CI 0.24 to 0.75)), anxiety (effect size 0.53 (95% CI 0.06 to 0.99)), stress (effect size 0.49 (95% CI 0.21 to 0.77)) and self-efficacy (effect size 0.86 (95% CI 0.5 to 1.23)), at an average of 8 weeks following intervention initiation. Controlled trials of health professionals showed improved emotional exhaustion (effect size 0.37 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.70)), personal accomplishment (effect size 1.18 (95% CI 0.10 to 2.25)) and life satisfaction (effect size 0.48 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.81)) at an average of 8 weeks following intervention initiation.

Conclusions Meditation provides a small to moderate benefit for informal caregivers and health professionals for stress reduction, but more research is required to establish effects on burnout and caregiver burden.

  • Cancer
  • Chronic conditions
  • Complementary therapy
  • Psychological care
  • Quality of life
  • Education and training
  • Received 13 November 2014.
  • Revision received 1 January 2015.
  • Accepted 17 February 2015.

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  • Received 13 November 2014.
  • Revision received 1 January 2015.
  • Accepted 17 February 2015.
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