Four questionnaires are administered before and after the MBSR classes and below are the results from participants taking MBSR in the Summer and Fall of 2005.
The Medical Symptom Checklist (MSCL) measures the number of â€œactiveâ€ symptoms experienced by a participant. The average number of medical symptoms dropped 62% after MBSR.
Cohen's Perceived Stress Score (PSS) measures the degree to which situations in one's life are perceived as stressful. An average score for a college student is 23 +/- 7. Participants started MBSR with an average score of 29.9 and ended with an average score of 18.3.
The SF-36 Health Survey is a well-recognized scale measuring general well being. Scores are normalized to the general population with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10, with higher scores indicating better well-being or health. Eight subscales evaluate aspects of physical and mental functioning. With the exception of the Physical-functioning subscale, MBSR participants significantly improved on each subscale (all p values < 0.02). Two summary scales provide physical composite scores (PCS) and a mental composite scores (MCS). The PCS was not different before and after MBSR, while the MCS improved more than 1.4 standard deviations.
The SCL-90-R is a well established self-report questionnaire of psychological distress. Analysis is composed of 9 subscales and 3 composite scores. Data are expressed as area-T-scores normalized to an adult non-psychiatric outpatient population. Scores are normalized to a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of ±10, with lower scores reflecting better mental health. All composite scales and subscales significantly improved. The global severity composite score that reflects the sum of all the subscales, improved 1.5 standard deviations, from a pre-MBSR score of 61 to a post-MBSR score of 46. Expressed in percentiles, the class average improved from the 85th percentile to approximately the 40th percentile.
Currently, Dr. Geary has been funded to continue this research to examine the lasting impact of the MBSR course and also examine the potential utility of pulse rate variability as a physiologic marker of stress. MBSR participants will be invited to participate in this study during courses offered in 2006 and 2007.