Research: ROTH and STANLEY,

Listed in Issue 76


ROTH and STANLEY, Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic and the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, CA, USA,, investigated whether a programme of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could reduce the usage of primary healthcare services by people living in an inner city area.


Previous studies of MBSR have examined its ability to reduce symptoms in relation to general health problems in ‘middle class’ and ‘working class’ populations.


The researchers reviewed medical charts from the Community Health Center, Meriden, Connecticut, USA. They compared the number of and diagnoses resulting from health centre visits during the year before and the year after patients entered an 8-week MBSR programme. The review covered healthcare utilization by 73 patients who completed the MBSR programme (54 in Spanish, 19 in English). Analysis focused on 47 of these patients, for whom data were available for a complete year before and after the programme.


The number of chronic care visits decreased significantly in the subgroup of 47 patients. 36 of these 47 completed the MBSR programme in Spanish – in these, total medical visits and number of chronic care visits both decreased significantly.


MBSR may reduce healthcare costs of inner city patients by decreasing the number of visits to their GPs.


Roth B, Stanley TW. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and healthcare utilization in the inner city: preliminary findings. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 8 (1): 60-2, 64-6. Jan-Feb 2002.

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