Psychology, Professional


Summer 8-16-2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Nathaniel Nelson, Christopher Vye, Ann Marie Winskowski


Introduction: Despite strong empirical support for pharmacotherapy and Cognitive- Behavioral approaches to treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), many patients fail to engage with or complete treatment, and for those who engage therapies, full symptom remission is infrequent. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have shown promising results in the reduction of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and may represent a worthy alternative for patients who do not benefit from more conventional interventions. Objective: This study aims to elucidate the efficacy of MBIs for treating OCD and potential moderating variables using a meta- analytical approach. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using six English and three Chinese databases, resulting in 729 potentially-relevant studies. Fourteen studies described in 13 articles (including 11 written in English and two in Chinese) met the current selection criteria. Standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals were computed to measure the treatment effect size for OCD symptom severity at post-treatment. Five subgroup analyses were pre-planned to evaluate potential moderators. Results: Results showed that MBIs had a moderate and statistically significant effect (SMD = –0.57, 95% CI: – 0.82 to –0.28) on reducing OCD symptoms at post-treatment. Statistically significant moderating effects were found in the type of control condition (active vs. inactive), participants’ clinical profiles (clinical vs. subclinical samples), and treatment duration (≤8 vs. >8 weeks), but not in culture (eastern vs. western countries) or the OCD measure used (clinician-rated vs. self-rated instruments). Cognitive-behavioral treatments had a slight but non-significant advantage in reducing OCD symptoms relative to MBIs. Conclusion: Findings suggest promising clinical benefits of MBIs in treating OCD compared to inactive control and many active control conditions. While MBIs have not been shown to be as efficacious as conventional cognitive-behavioral treatments, they may represent a worthy alternative for patients who are unable to complete in cognitive-behavioral approaches.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.