The MASTER trial was designed to look at the effects of the MBCR program on acute laboratory stress reactivity, and was the Masters project of Dr. Laura Labelle. The design was a waitlist RCT, wherein we subjected women with cancer to the Trier Social Stress Test in the laboratory both before and after MBCR, or twice during the waiting period, measuring cortisol, BP and HR reactivity. We also sent them home with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor with which they measured their blood pressure on a weekly basis throughout the 8-week MBCR program or waiting period.
The most interesting results were those of the blood pressure assessments, which showed a steady decrease in SBP over the course of the program in those women with pre-hypertensive levels of BP at the outset, compared to the waitlist controls.
Campbell, T.S., Labelle, L. E., Bacon, S. L., Faris, P., & Carlson, L. E. (2011). Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on attention, rumination and resting blood pressure in women with cancer: A waitlist-controlled study. Journal of Behavioural Medicine 2012 Jun;35(3):262-71. doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9357-1.View.
A follow-up a decade later...
The results of the acute stress reactivity paradigm using the TSST did NOT show any effect of MBCR participation on either reactivity or recovery. Hence, Dr. Labelle moved on and this data suffered from a file drawer problem for over a decade. Finally, in 2020 we published these null results, with a renewed dedication to publishing the results of all our trials, whether they confirm our hypotheses or not.
Drogos L, Toivonen K*, Labelle L, Campbell T, Carlson LE. (2020) No Effect of Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery on Cardiovascular or Cortisol Reactivity in Female Cancer Survivors. Journal of Behavioural Medicine. 2020 Aug;08 Doi: 10.1007/s10865-020-00167-w. View.