Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for seasonal affective disorder: A pilot study

Joke Fleer*, Maya Schroevers, Vera Panjer, Erwin Geerts, Ybe Meesters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The best available treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is light therapy. Yet, this treatment does not prevent recurrence of depression in subsequent seasons. The aim of the study is to gain preliminary insight in the efficacy of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in the prevention of SAD recurrence.

Methods: This is a randomized controlled pilot study, in which SAD patients in remission were randomly allocated to an individual format of MBCT or a control condition (i.e. treatment as usual). MKT was given between May and June 2011, when there was no presence of depressive symptoms. The Inventory for Depressive SympLomatology Self-Report (IDS-SR), which patients received on a weekly basis from September 2011 to April 2012, was used to assess moment of recurrence (>= 20) and severity at moment of recurrence.

Results: 23 SAD patients were randomized to MKT and 23 to the control condition. Kaplan-Meier survival curve showed that the groups did not differ in moment of recurrence 1)41, p=.52). T-tests showed no group difference in mean IDS-SR scores at moment of recurrence (1(31)=.52, p=.61). Limitations: The results are limited by small sample size (n=46) and missing data of weekly IDS-SR assessments.

Conclusion: The findings of this pilot RCT suggest that individual MBCT is not effective in preventing a SAD recurrence when offered in a symptom free period (i.e. spring). (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15-Oct-2014


  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Mindfulness
  • Therapy
  • Intervention
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Pilot

Cite this