Background: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a well-known, effective treatment in the prevention of relapse in Major Depression Disorder (MDD). However, a recent study in people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) showed that MBCT given in spring was ineffective in preventing a next depressive episode. To test the hypothesis that people with SAD may experience sufficient levels of mindfulness in spring and therefore less benefit from MBCT, this study examines variations in levels of mindfulness over seasons.
Methods: This longitudinal prospective study followed 77 people with SAD over a two-year period. Participants filled out a self-report questionnaire, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) on a quarterly basis.
Results: Levels of mindfulness differed throughout the seasons, with overall results suggesting lower levels of mindfulness in winter.
Limitations: The results are limited by the small sample size and varying levels of mindfulness over the two years of the study period.
Conclusion: Findings suggest a seasonal component in levels of mindfulness exists, implying that people with SAD are less mindful during the winter compared to other seasons. Future research is needed to examine to what extent the motivation of people with SAD to participate in MBCT and benefit from it is higher in the winter.