Acceptability of mindfulness from the perspective of stroke survivors and caregivers: a qualitative study

Bhautesh Dinesh Jani, Robert Simpson, Maggie Lawrence, Sharon Byrne, Stewart Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Depression is very common among stroke survivors with estimated prevalence rates of approximately 33% among stroke survivors, but treatment options are limited. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective treatment for depression generally, but benefits in stroke patients are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of delivering MBSR to stroke survivors and their caregivers in the community. We conducted a study to gain views of MBSR as a potential treatment option among stroke survivors and their caregivers in the community. Methods: Participants were recruited from an urban community in Scotland (UK) using newspaper adverts, social media and support groups run by health charities. A 2-h MBSR taster session was delivered by two experienced mindfulness instructors, followed by focus group sessions with all participants on their user experience and suggestions for MBSR modifications for stroke survivors. The focus group sessions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcript data were analysed thematically using the framework approach. Results: The study sample consisted of 28 participants (16 females); there were 21 stroke survivors (11 females) and 7 caregivers (5 females). The median age for participants was 60 years. Most participants described the MBSR taster session as a positive experience. The main challenge reported was trying to maintain focus and concentration throughout the MBSR session. Some participants expressed reservations about the duration of standard mindfulness course sessions, suggesting a preference for shorter sessions. The potential for achieving better control over negative thoughts and emotions was viewed as a potential facilitator for future MBSR participation. Participants suggested having an orientation session prior to starting an 8-week course as a means of developing familiarity with the MBSR instructor and other participants. Conclusion: It was feasible to recruit 21 stroke survivors and 7 caregivers for MBSR taster sessions in the community. A shorter MBSR session and an orientation session prior to the full course are suggestions for potential MBSR modifications for stroke survivors, which needs further research and evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2018


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