Meditation for Posttraumatic Stress
Oct 7, 2016
RAND researchers conducted a systematic review that synthesized evidence from trials of meditation interventions to provide estimates of their efficacy and safety in treating adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Adjunctive meditation interventions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and mantram repetition program were efficacious in reducing PTSD and depression symptoms based on low to moderate quality of evidence.
A Systematic Review
|PDF file||1.6 MB|
Arabic language version
|PDF file||2.8 MB|
RAND researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that synthesized evidence from randomized controlled trials of meditation interventions to provide estimates of their efficacy and safety in treating adults diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Outcomes of interest included PSTD symptoms, depression symptoms, anxiety, health-related quality of life, functional status, and adverse events. Meta-analyses were conducted using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random-effects models. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (or GRADE) approach.
In total, ten trials on meditation interventions for PTSD with 643 participants met inclusion criteria. Across interventions, adjunctive meditation interventions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, and the mantram repetition program improve PTSD symptoms and depression compared with control groups based on low to moderate quality of evidence. Effects were positive but not statistically significant for quality of life and anxiety, and no studies addressed functional status. The variety of meditation intervention types, the short follow-up times, and the quality of studies limited analyses. There were no adverse events in the included studies, but only half of the studies reported on safety. In order to increase confidence in these findings, researchers should conduct more high-quality studies on meditation as adjunctive treatment with PTSD-diagnosed participant samples large enough to detect statistical differences in outcomes.
Excluded Full-Text Articles
This research was sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.