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Mindful Self-Compassion Program Beneficial in Diabetes

Emotional and metabolic benefits with reductions in depression and glycated hemoglobin

TUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A mindful self-compassion (MSC) program can reduce depression, diabetes-specific distress, and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in patients with diabetes, according to a study published online June 22 in Diabetes Care.

Anna M. Friis, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of self-compassion training on mood and metabolic outcomes in patients with diabetes. Patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were randomized to a standardized eight-week MSC program (32 patients) or a wait-list control condition (31 patients). Measures of self-compassion, depressive symptoms, diabetes-specific distress, and HbA1c were assessed preintervention, postintervention, and at three-month follow-up.

The researchers found that MSC training increased self-compassion and produced statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression and diabetes distress; these reductions were maintained at three-month follow-up. Between baseline and follow-up, MSC participants averaged a clinically and statistically meaningful decrease in HbA1c of >10 mmol/mol. No changes were observed for the wait-list control group.

“This initial report suggests that learning to be kinder to oneself (rather than being harshly self-critical) may have both emotional and metabolic benefits among patients with diabetes,” the authors write.

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