Online Program

Evaluation of Meditation-based Interventions for the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jennifer Alyea, MPH, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Katy Hilts, MPH, Department of Health Policy, Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis, IN
Leisha Osburn, MHA, MS, Department of Health Policy, Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis, IN
Lisa Hess, PhD, Department of Health Policy, Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis, IN
Purpose: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event.  Symptoms of intrusive memories, avoidance, negative mood changes, and hyperarousal, as well as changes to quality of life, sleep, cortisol levels, and alcohol and drug use may occur.  Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, but effectiveness varies.  Complementary options deserve exploration.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of meditation-based interventions as treatment for PTSD in adults. 

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials were conducted using English-language articles identified in PubMed, EMBASE, and PsychINFO through September 2014 in accordance with PRISMA standards.  Eligibility was assessed using pre-specified criteria, and data were extracted using a standardized form by two independent reviewers.  Analyses were conducted using a random effects model to combine effect size data. Heterogeneity and publication bias were evaluated.  Sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Findings: A total of 13 out of 220 unique articles were eligible for inclusion.  Overall symptoms (p<0.001), intrusive memory (p=0.005), mood (p=0.006), and hyperarousal (p=0.035) were improved by meditation compared to usual care.   Avoidance and quality of life were not significantly improved.   Information was unavailable for alcohol or drug use.  Analyses generally showed limited evidence of publication bias, and results were consistent across sensitivity analyses. 

Implications: Meditation-based interventions appear to provide a beneficial impact on PTSD symptoms compared to usual care alone.  Further investigation is warranted for this complementary treatment strategy for adults with PTSD.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of meditation-based interventions on symptoms in adults with post-traumatic stress disorder

Keyword(s): Mental Health Treatment &Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiology doctoral student and data analyst with a background in behavioral health. I have previous research experience evaluating stress and mental health among large employee populations. My current interests include conducting patient-centered comparative effectiveness research to inform prevention and treatment strategies for individuals with mental health conditions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.