Mindfulness-based interventions for people with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-aggregation of qualitative research studies

Robert Simpson*, Sharon Simpson, Marina Wasilewski, Stewart Mercer, Maggie Lawrence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are effective treatments for stress, anxiety, and depression in PwMS. However, low adherence and high attrition may limit effectiveness. Qualitative research can provide important insights into MBI acceptability, accessibility, and implementation. This systematic review and meta-aggregation evaluated qualitative research findings on the use of MBIs for PwMS. Methods: Systematic searches were undertaken in six major electronic databases. Studies using qualitative or mixed methods were included. Two reviewers screened, data extracted, and critically appraised studies. Meta-aggregation was performed following the Joanna Briggs Institute approach, extracting findings, developing categories, and synthesizing findings. Results: Six eligible papers, including 136 PwMS were included in meta-aggregation. 136 findings were extracted, grouped into 17 categories, with four synthesized findings: (1) “accessing mindfulness,” (2) “a sense of belonging,” (3) “experiencing mindfulness,” and (4) “making mindfulness more relevant and sustainable for PwMS.” Conclusions: MBIs for PwMS need to take into consideration disability which can limit accessibility. Online MBIs (synchronous and asynchronous) appear acceptable alternatives to traditional face-to-face courses. However, PwMS benefit from shared (mindful) experiencing and highlight MBI instructors as crucial in helping them understand and practice mindfulness. Involving PwMS in design, delivery, and iterative refinement would make MBIs more relevant to those taking part.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6179-6193
Number of pages15
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number21
Early online date9 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2022


  • meta-aggregation
  • mindfulness
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • qualitative research
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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