Academic research

<p>We have selected some of the strongest academic research regarding workplace mindfulness interventions&nbsp;and provided summaries below.&nbsp; All studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and are presented under three headings: Reviews of mindfulness interventions, Manager Interventions (Mindful Leadership)&nbsp;and Individual Interventions.&nbsp;</p>
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Author: Lomas, Medina, Ivtzan, Rupprecht & Eiroa-Orosa

The impact of mindfulness on the wellbeing and performance of educators: A systematic review of the empirical literature (2017)

The impact of mindfulness on the wellbeing and performance of educators: A systematic review of the empirical literature (2017)

19 studies were included in this systematic review. The studies included a variety of interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), Community Approach to Learning Mindfully (CALM), Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) and mindfulness – based wellbeing education and their duration varied from 1 day to 1 month. Generally, mindfulness was associated with positive changes in mental health and wellbeing outcomes although not all the changes were statistically significant. However, results showed a significant change in some studies in burnout, depression, stress, wellbeing and there were also positive health benefits which included daily physical symptoms and better sleep.  The results also suggested that mindfulness was associated with better emotional regulation, this is one mechanism by which mindfulness may positively impact on wellbeing. However, overall the quality of the studies was rated as poor.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are useful for teachers.  The authors conclude that it would be beneficial for all teachers to be offered an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Intervention course, preferably with drop in sessions to enable continuous practice, however if that was not feasible it would be sufficient for teachers to have an introductory MBI session and then they could pursue a longer intervention outside school.

Author: McConville, McAleer & Hahne

Mindfulness training for health profession students - the effect of mindfulness training on psychological well-being, learning and clinical performance of health professional students: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials

Mindfulness training for health profession students - the effect of mindfulness training on psychological well-being, learning and clinical performance of health professional students: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials

This systematic review of 19 studies examined mindfulness-based interventions mainly amongst health profession students. The interventions varied from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) to Mindful Gym or interventions that delivered the mindfulness training by a DVD or CD and they varied in duration from 1.5-2.5 hours over 7-10 weeks to 2-3 hours for four to five weeks.  The aims of the interventions were to increase mindfulness, empathy, self-care, engagement in university learning and reflective practice. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness interventions were associated with significant changes such as lower anxiety, stress and depression and increased positive moods, greater mindfulness, self-efficacy and empathy. The differences seen in anxiety and stress were still present at follow-up (which ranged from 3 months to 6 months) and there was an even greater increase in self-efficacy at follow-up (6 months). Interestingly, MBSR showed greater effects than just mindful meditation. Generally, the studies were rated as moderate quality.  It is worth noting that home practice decreased after the intervention so further research to help enable home practice is suggested, e.g. reminders and easy to use apps.

Author: Ravalier, Wegrzynek & Lawton

Systematic review: complementary therapies and employee well-being (2016)

Systematic review: complementary therapies and employee well-being (2016)

10 articles were included in this systematic review.  The aim of the review was to examine the evidence regarding complementary therapies to improve health and performance at work.  A mixture of interventions was included in the review such as web based mindfulness programmes, meditation, relaxation breathing, neurofeedback-based relaxation and progressive muscle relaxation. 

 

The evidence suggests mindfulness interventions had a positive impact on well-being e.g. psychological well-being and perceived stress and resilience however it was not possible to determine whether there was still an effect at 3-6 month follow up.  Meditation interventions also positively impacted on psychological and organizational employee well-being and one study showed a positive impact at 3 month follow up. The authors concluded that mindfulness and mediation based interventions were effective in improving health and performance at work.  However, the evidence regarding the relaxation interventions was questionable and no conclusions were drawn. However, in some of these studies there were low response rates and small samples. 

Author: Jamieson & Tuckey

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature (2017)

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature (2017)

This systematic review examined 40 studies that included a mixture of interventions, such as adapted Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), meditation, yoga and relaxation through music, adaptations of ACT and a mixture of MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000). 

 

The results showed that the one of the most popular interventions is MBSR, 75% of the studies had used MBSR or a modified version or aspects of MBSR along with another type of intervention such as MBCT.  The study also found that there are a variety of definitions of mindfulness used within papers.  Most papers define mindfulness as a state, fewer define it is a practice and even fewer define it as both.  However, the authors note that it is important for researchers to define mindfulness and identify which type of definition will be used for their research. Additionally, fewer than 50% of the studies assessed mindfulness before and after the intervention which leads to concerns about internal validity.  The results suggested that generally mindfulness interventions have a positive impact on health and well-being although there were a few studies that found differing results.  However, it is also important to measure organisational outcomes such as performance, turnover intention and productivity; currently the extant literature examining the impact of mindfulness on these outcomes is inconclusive and further research is required. 

 

Author: Virgili

Mindfulness-Based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies (2015)

Mindfulness-Based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies (2015)

This meta-analysis of 19 studies (including dissertations) examined mindfulness interventions in 5 countries.To be included in the meta-analysis, studies had to have examined the effect of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) intervention or a comparable intervention.  Studies had to have mindfulness as the main component and to have lasted at least 4 weeks; interventions included different durations of MBSR, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness training skills and mindful communication education and lasted 4 to 64 weeks with contact time varying from 2 to 42 hours. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness-based interventions had a medium-large effect on psychological distress in working adults. All the variations of interventions had similar effect sizes and these were seen across a variety of populations that covered a range of occupations.  The positive effects on psychological distress tended to be seen at follow up, however this was quite a short term follow up (the median follow up was 5 weeks) although two longer term follow ups, at 12 months and 15 months displayed a medium-large effect.  The results suggested there was no difference between shorter and longer courses in their effectiveness.  Furthermore, the effects of mindfulness were comparable to stress management interventions (e.g. relaxation and yoga).  However, all the measures used were self-report and it may be useful in future research to compare such self-report measures with physical health measures. Yet this does support the use of shorter mindfulness interventions within an organizational context to reduce psychological distress. 

Author: Luken & Sammons

Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout (2016)

Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout (2016)

This systematic review examined 8 studies which involved a variety of mindfulness interventions such as an adapted version of the traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), a shortened version of MBSR and non-traditional mindfulness training.  The aim was to examine the evidence in relation to using mindfulness to decrease job burnout.  Most of the study populations were health professionals and teachers although one study examined mindfulness amongst individuals from a range of sectors e.g. banking, health and retail. 7 out of the 8 studies were judged to be fair to good quality.  The studies showed that the adapted version of MBSR was associated with decreased emotional exhaustion - this was post intervention and at 3 month follow up - and a greater sense of personal achievement. In addition, the course was associated with decreased burnout after the intervention and at 3 month follow up. The shorter version of MBSR was associated with a decrease in emotional exhaustion and there were positive outcomes seen in the qualitative data such as greater calm and joy, peace and less stress. In the non-traditional version of mindfulness there was a decrease in emotional exhaustion and an increase in personal accomplishment.

 

The results suggest that there is evidence to support the use of these three types of mindfulness interventions to decrease burnout. However, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981) was not always used to measure burnout. 

Author: Aikens, Astin, Pelletier, Levanovich, Baase, Park & Bodnar

Mindfulness goes to work. Impact of an online workplace intervention (2014)

Mindfulness goes to work. Impact of an online workplace intervention (2014)

This study examined a web-based workplace mindfulness programme amongst 89 Dow Chemical employees.  The 7 week programme was comprised of a weekly 1 hour virtual class with additional online training.  Participants could attend a broadcast of the class in a meeting room or via the internet or a mobile. Each 1 hour class was made up of three parts; firstly - participants completed the audio exercises, secondly - there was a weekly progress tracking survey - each participant was sent pre-programmed email coaching and feedback in response to their survey answers and thirdly, participants could choose to receive a daily text that was relevant to their current progress.

 

A significant decrease in perceived stress and an increase in resiliency, vigor and mindfulness was seen post intervention compared to the control group and these results either stayed similar or increased at the 6 month follow up. A positive impact on healthy dietary choices was also shown.  There was also a decrease in self-reported burnout.  These findings suggest that a shorter, web based mindfulness programmes can show positive benefits similar to the full/face to face Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) programme. However, it is not possible to assess the long-term impact of this programme as a 12 month follow up was not carried out.  Additionally, it’s possible that other factors such as social factors or being given more attention may be related to some of the positive outcomes demonstrated in the results rather than just mindfulness.

Author: Hulsheger, Feinholdt & Nubold

A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration (2015)

A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration (2015)

This intervention was conducted with participants from a variety of organisations in Germany.  The study examined the impact of a self-training intervention which included a diary booklet and surveys. The intervention was developed by Hulsheger et al (2013) and is a mixture of mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).  It included information about mindfulness and meditation, daily guided mindfulness meditations and informal exercises.  The guided meditations included The Body Scan, the Three-Minute Breathing Space, the Mindful Routine Activity exercise and a Loving Kindness Meditation exercise; participants were given written information about the meditation and an audio file. 

 

There was an increase in mindfulness, sleep quality and sleep duration over the 10 working days of the study.  However, no differences were seen in psychological detachment in the evening post work.  Factors influencing this could be the short 2-week length of the study or the lower daily practice time, the average was 10.5 minutes rather than the 45 minutes seen in conventional courses.  The changes that were seen in the aforementioned outcomes increased over the 10-day period which suggests that as participants practice more the benefits increase.  This study suggests that even a short intervention with no formal teaching may be beneficial for employees. 

Author: Gregoire & Lachance

Evaluation of a brief mindfulness-based intervention to reduce psychological distress in the workplace (2014)

Evaluation of a brief mindfulness-based intervention to reduce psychological distress in the workplace (2014)

49 call centre employees in Canada completed this 5 week mindfulness intervention.  Participants listened to 15 minute audio files daily.  Before starting work participants were offered a 10 minute audio session and after lunch they were offered a 5 minute audio session.  There were five themes, one covered each week; attention to physical sensations, attention to the breath, attention to sounds and silence, attention to emotions and awakening confidence.

 

There was a significant increase in mindfulness at follow up 5 weeks after the intervention had been completed. There was also a decrease in psychological distress, anxiety, stress and depression and there were decreases in negative affect and fatigue but these were not significantly different to the control group when measured 5 weeks post intervention. There were also increases in client satisfaction but this was a small effect. This mindfulness intervention could be very valuable as it is shorter than many others yet had a positive impact on employees, it also involves shorter practice times compared to most other courses.  Additionally most of the mindfulness training was completed at employee’s desks.

Author: Crain, Schonert-Reichl & Roeser

Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes (2017)

Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes (2017)

This examined an intervention amongst teachers at a US school and teachers at a Canadian school.  The intervention was 11 sessions, that were held after school, conducted over 8 weeks as there were two day sessions.  It was designed using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) techniques and modified for teachers.

 

At both post-intervention and 3 month follow up those in the intervention showed a decrease in bad moods, longer sleep on weekday nights, increased mindfulness and decreased rumination about work compared to those in the control group. Results also showed that post intervention there was higher satisfaction at both work and home and less insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness however these were not significant at follow up.  Further research should therefore examine the maintenance of these positive changes, it may be that organisations could help by providing individuals with space and time for mindfulness practice during working hours.  However, this sample was very motivated so caution should be taken regarding the generalisability of the results. 

Author: Querstret, Cropley & Fife-Schaw

Internet-based instructor-led mindfulness for work-related rumination, fatigue, and sleep: Assessing facets of mindfulness as mechanisms of change (2017)

Internet-based instructor-led mindfulness for work-related rumination, fatigue, and sleep: Assessing facets of mindfulness as mechanisms of change (2017)

This intervention was carried out in the UK with individuals from a range of jobs.  The intervention was an online mindfulness course that was comprised of aspects of both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000) which was designed by the Mental Health Foundation and Wellmind Media in addition to UK mindfulness instructors.  10 sessions guided individuals through formal meditations (e.g. the body scan, mindful movement) and informal mindfulness techniques (mindful walking, mindfully brushing teeth).  Participants were asked to practice these meditations and techniques throughout the week and it was not possible for participants to continue to the next stage of the course until the previous one had been completed.

 

After the intervention and at 3 and 6 month follow up, individuals who completed the intervention displayed lower work-related rumination, problem-solving pondering, chronic and acute fatigue and higher sleep quality, these were all a medium-large effect. These individuals also stated that they had higher levels of acting with awareness (large effect), non-judging (large effect) and describing (small effect).  It is thought that the impact of the intervention occurred through acting with awareness, so this would be a key area to research further as it is not known which aspects of mindfulness interventions are associated with the distinct features of mindfulness. This intervention suggests that internet-based interventions can have positive effects and internet-based interventions are likely to be cheaper for businesses to implement.

Author: Huang, Li, Huang & Tang

The potential for mindfulness-based intervention in workplace mental health promotion: Results of a randomized controlled trial (2015)

The potential for mindfulness-based intervention in workplace mental health promotion: Results of a randomized controlled trial (2015)

Factory workers in Taiwan who had poor mental health (in this context this was defined as exhibiting psychological distress and job strain) participated in a mindfulness intervention.  The intervention was a weekly two-hour mindfulness training programme, for 8 weeks, which took place at work during working hours. Participants were also asked to do 45 minutes of homework every day for 8 weeks.  This intervention was developed using MBSR but didn’t include an all-day class, however the topics normally covered in this were covered during the course.

 

Those in the intervention group reported lower psychological distress, fatigue and stress post intervention.  The decreases in fatigue and stress were still present at 4 weeks post intervention and 8 weeks post intervention.  Those in the control group also showed a decrease in psychological distress, fatigue and stress however it was not as larger increase as those in the intervention group.  It could be that those in the control group felt they were receiving care by participating in the questionnaire every 4 weeks; subsequently it may be that simple programmes to enable this feeling could be developed to help employees with their mental health.  Job control and job demands were also measured, however post intervention the results showed no significant changes. 

Author: Michel, Bosch & Rexroth

Mindfulness as a cognitive-emotional segmentation strategy: An intervention promoting work-life balance (2014)

Mindfulness as a cognitive-emotional segmentation strategy: An intervention promoting work-life balance (2014)

This intervention was conducted in Germany with participants from a variety of occupations.  The mindfulness intervention was developed to promote work-life balance.  Employees participated in a 3 week online self-training intervention.  The intervention involved exercises from Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1982, 2002).  Employees completed three modules and each module had two parts; part A was informational in addition to practical exercises of roughly 20 minutes which were completed on the weekend and part B was a 3-5 minute task for each working day for the following week.  The information and instructions were provided online and audio files were also provided.  For the daily task, reminder texts were available if employees wanted them and there was also a weekly reminder email.  The three modules were: reflecting segmentation, mindfulness and being in the present moment and mindfulness and coping with undesired thoughts and feelings.

 

Those in the intervention showed better psychological detachment from work, had less strain-based work-family conflict and showed greater satisfaction with their work-life balance.  These results were shown both post intervention (after 3 weeks) and at two week follow up.  The results suggest that this low-cost, short internet-based intervention can help to teach employees mindfulness which can have a beneficial impact on work-life balance.

Author: Baron

Authentic leadership and mindfulness development through action learning (2016)

Authentic leadership and mindfulness development through action learning (2016)

A three-year training programme based on action learning principles was implemented amongst French-Canadian middle managers and its effectiveness in fostering authentic leadership and mindfulness was examined.  143 managers participated in the intervention group and 50 people were in the comparison group. The managers were taught for 5 consecutive days every 4 months and the programme was 20% theoretical and 80% experimental.   The goal of the first year was self-awareness, the second year – to develop the ability to have impact through action and the third year to have greater awareness of how to assume leadership of a group in an authentic and motivating fashion. It was proposed that action learning draws on mindfulness characteristics and will therefore help to develop mindfulness. Results showed that after the programme those in the intervention group showed significantly higher levels of authentic leadership and mindfulness.  There was no change in authentic leadership or mindfulness in the comparison group. The results support the effectiveness of the programme and suggest that mindfulness is positively associated with action learning. 

Author: Brendel, Hankerson, Byun & Cunningham

Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress (2016)

Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress (2016)

In this study the effect of regular mindfulness meditation practice on five personal qualities, which are key to successful leadership during uncertainty and rapid organisational change, was examined. The five qualities were drawn from the results of a literature review: creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, dealing with stress and quelling anxiety.  20 participants conducted 45-minute mindfulness practices each week for 8 weeks compared to the control group, in which 21 participants took part in a weekly 3 hour graduate level leadership course.   In comparison to the control group those in the intervention group showed a significant decrease in trait anxiety and stress and a significant increase in promotional regulatory focus. 

Author: Shonin & Van Gordon

Managers’ experiences of meditation awareness training (2015)

Managers’ experiences of meditation awareness training (2015)

10 managers completed meditation awareness training, in this training mindfulness was a key part but wasn’t the only element.  Participants attended eight 90 minute weekly workshops.  These included a presentation, facilitated group discussion and guided meditation or mindfulness exercises.  Participants also received a CD of guided meditations to help with self-practice and 4 weekly 1:1 supports from the instructor.

 

The aim was to qualitatively evaluate the experiences of the participants receiving training.  The results showed 6 themes:

  1. Changing attitudes towards work
  2. Improved job performance
  3. Letting go of self
  4. Phenomena feedback effect
  5. Wellbeing at work
  6. Taking responsibility for one’s spiritual growth
Author: Wasylkiw, Holton, Azar & Cook

The impact of mindfulness on leadership effectiveness in a health care setting: a pilot study (2015)

The impact of mindfulness on leadership effectiveness in a health care setting: a pilot study (2015)

The impact of mindfulness awareness practice on managers’ leadership was examined.  The intervention was a weekend retreat and a webinar.   There was also a follow up practice session and reflective inquiry in the form of a webinar 8 weeks after the weekend.  Amongst those in the intervention group, there was a significant increase in mindfulness and a decrease in stress 8 weeks after the intervention, they also reported significant changes in their leadership effectiveness which was confirmed by others.  The results also suggested participants found they had increased their openness and empathy for others and compassion and work life balance.  However, it was clear that it was difficult to maintain the practice and there was only one participant who had maintained regular practice for 16 weeks but they had a regular practice prior to the intervention.

Author: Janssen, Heerkens, Kuijer, van der Heijden & Engels

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review (2018)

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review (2018)

23 studies were included in this systematic review. The majority of the studies investigated the effects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The other studies investigated the effect of MBSR in addition to some elements of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Only two of the studies were of high methodological quality, 15 were medium quality and six were low quality. Almost 35 psychological outcomes were identified. The two most frequently studied outcomes were mindfulness and burnout symptoms. Fourteen studies assessed the impact of the intervention on mindfulness, nine assessed the impact on burnout symptoms e.g. emotional exhaustion, (job-related) personal accomplish and depersonalisation. The programmes varied in length, so it was not possible to make conclusions regarding the impact of different programme lengths. Overall the findings suggest that MBSR may help to improve employees’ psychological functioning. The strongest outcomes were decreased emotional exhaustion, stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety and occupational stress.

Author: Donaldson-Feilder, Lewis & Yarker

What outcomes have mindfulness and meditation interventions for managers and leaders achieved? A systematic review (2018)

What outcomes have mindfulness and meditation interventions for managers and leaders achieved? A systematic review (2018)

This paper examined the benefits of mindfulness or meditation interventions for leaders and managers. 19 studies were included in this systematic review; these studies were both published and unpublished research. The studies varied in the delivery of the intervention, some were delivered one to one and some in group sessions, these included weekly or fortnightly sessions or a retreat. There were also variations in the length of the interventions. 

 

The results suggest that such interventions may positively impact on leaders’/managers’ well-being and resilience and leadership capability. However, the impact on participants’ direct reports was not investigated.

Author: Rudaz, Twohig, Ong & Levin

Mindfulness and acceptance-based training for fostering self-care and reducing stress in mental health professionals: A systematic review (2017)

Mindfulness and acceptance-based training for fostering self-care and reducing stress in mental health professionals: A systematic review (2017)

24 studies were included in this systematic review. Interventions included Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The findings from the MBSR studies suggest that it has a positive impact on stress and mindfulness. However, the long-term impact cannot be established due to a lack of follow up. The findings from the MBCT studies are mixed, there is support for the impact on mindfulness however stress and well-being did not consistently improve but low sample sizes may have contributed to this finding. The two studies investigating MSC showed an increase in self-compassion and one showed a decrease in stress. The findings from the ACT studies suggest an increase in psychological flexibility and mindfulness and a decrease in stress. Overall, the findings suggest that the programs generally result in an increase in mindfulness but the impact on psychological wellbeing is mixed.

Author: Flaxman & Bond

A randomised worksite comparison of acceptance and commitment therapy and stress inoculation training (2010)

A randomised worksite comparison of acceptance and commitment therapy and stress inoculation training (2010)

In this study three different interventions were compared amongst 107 working individuals with above average levels of distress. The three conditions were: acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), stress inoculation (SIT) training and a control group. ACT and SIT were delivered in two 3-hour training sessions one week apart. The ACT intervention included practicing mindfulness exercises, cognitive defusion exercises and values and goals exercises. The SIT intervention focused on two main skills: relaxation training and cognitive restructuring. Measures were taken prior to the intervention and three months after the second session.

 

The results showed that both ACT and SIT were associated with decreased psychological distress at three months post intervention. The results suggest that the improved mental health from ACT is a result of an increase in psychological flexibility. 

Author: Waters, Frude, Flaxman & Boyd

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for clinically distressed health care workers: Waitlist-controlled evaluation of an ACT workshop in a routine practice setting (2018)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for clinically distressed health care workers: Waitlist-controlled evaluation of an ACT workshop in a routine practice setting (2018)

The aim of this study was to evaluate a 1-day acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) workshop. The participants were 35 health care workers who had self-referred for the ACT workshop via a clinical support service for staff. The aim of the workshop was to provide mindfulness and values-based action skills through a variety of techniques. Participants completed measures pre intervention and at three months post intervention. 

 

The results showed that the ACT group had significantly lower levels of psychological distress at three months post intervention. 50% of the ACT participants demonstrated clinically significant change. Amongst those who were originally in the control group and received the intervention later 69% demonstrated clinically significant change. The results also showed significant increases in psychological flexibility, defusion (degree of belief in negative thought content) and mindfulness skills.

 

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Author: Lomas, Medina, Ivtzan, Rupprecht & Eiroa-Orosa

The impact of mindfulness on the wellbeing and performance of educators: A systematic review of the empirical literature (2017)

The impact of mindfulness on the wellbeing and performance of educators: A systematic review of the empirical literature (2017)

19 studies were included in this systematic review. The studies included a variety of interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), Community Approach to Learning Mindfully (CALM), Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) and mindfulness – based wellbeing education and their duration varied from 1 day to 1 month. Generally, mindfulness was associated with positive changes in mental health and wellbeing outcomes although not all the changes were statistically significant. However, results showed a significant change in some studies in burnout, depression, stress, wellbeing and there were also positive health benefits which included daily physical symptoms and better sleep.  The results also suggested that mindfulness was associated with better emotional regulation, this is one mechanism by which mindfulness may positively impact on wellbeing. However, overall the quality of the studies was rated as poor.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are useful for teachers.  The authors conclude that it would be beneficial for all teachers to be offered an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Intervention course, preferably with drop in sessions to enable continuous practice, however if that was not feasible it would be sufficient for teachers to have an introductory MBI session and then they could pursue a longer intervention outside school.

Author: Lomas, Medina, Ivtzan, Rupprecht & Eiroa-Orosa

The impact of mindfulness on the wellbeing and performance of educators: A systematic review of the empirical literature (2017)

19 studies were included in this systematic review. The studies included a variety of interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), Community Approach to Learning Mindfully (CALM), Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) and mindfulness – based wellbeing education and their duration varied from 1 day to 1 month. Generally, mindfulness was associated with positive changes in mental health and wellbeing outcomes although not all the changes were statistically significant. However, results showed a significant change in some studies in burnout, depression, stress, wellbeing and there were also positive health benefits which included daily physical symptoms and better sleep.  The results also suggested that mindfulness was associated with better emotional regulation, this is one mechanism by which mindfulness may positively impact on wellbeing. However, overall the quality of the studies was rated as poor.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are useful for teachers.  The authors conclude that it would be beneficial for all teachers to be offered an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Intervention course, preferably with drop in sessions to enable continuous practice, however if that was not feasible it would be sufficient for teachers to have an introductory MBI session and then they could pursue a longer intervention outside school.

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Author: McConville, McAleer & Hahne

Mindfulness training for health profession students - the effect of mindfulness training on psychological well-being, learning and clinical performance of health professional students: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials

Mindfulness training for health profession students - the effect of mindfulness training on psychological well-being, learning and clinical performance of health professional students: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials

This systematic review of 19 studies examined mindfulness-based interventions mainly amongst health profession students. The interventions varied from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) to Mindful Gym or interventions that delivered the mindfulness training by a DVD or CD and they varied in duration from 1.5-2.5 hours over 7-10 weeks to 2-3 hours for four to five weeks.  The aims of the interventions were to increase mindfulness, empathy, self-care, engagement in university learning and reflective practice. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness interventions were associated with significant changes such as lower anxiety, stress and depression and increased positive moods, greater mindfulness, self-efficacy and empathy. The differences seen in anxiety and stress were still present at follow-up (which ranged from 3 months to 6 months) and there was an even greater increase in self-efficacy at follow-up (6 months). Interestingly, MBSR showed greater effects than just mindful meditation. Generally, the studies were rated as moderate quality.  It is worth noting that home practice decreased after the intervention so further research to help enable home practice is suggested, e.g. reminders and easy to use apps.

Author: McConville, McAleer & Hahne

Mindfulness training for health profession students - the effect of mindfulness training on psychological well-being, learning and clinical performance of health professional students: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials

This systematic review of 19 studies examined mindfulness-based interventions mainly amongst health profession students. The interventions varied from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) to Mindful Gym or interventions that delivered the mindfulness training by a DVD or CD and they varied in duration from 1.5-2.5 hours over 7-10 weeks to 2-3 hours for four to five weeks.  The aims of the interventions were to increase mindfulness, empathy, self-care, engagement in university learning and reflective practice. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness interventions were associated with significant changes such as lower anxiety, stress and depression and increased positive moods, greater mindfulness, self-efficacy and empathy. The differences seen in anxiety and stress were still present at follow-up (which ranged from 3 months to 6 months) and there was an even greater increase in self-efficacy at follow-up (6 months). Interestingly, MBSR showed greater effects than just mindful meditation. Generally, the studies were rated as moderate quality.  It is worth noting that home practice decreased after the intervention so further research to help enable home practice is suggested, e.g. reminders and easy to use apps.

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Author: Ravalier, Wegrzynek & Lawton

Systematic review: complementary therapies and employee well-being (2016)

Systematic review: complementary therapies and employee well-being (2016)

10 articles were included in this systematic review.  The aim of the review was to examine the evidence regarding complementary therapies to improve health and performance at work.  A mixture of interventions was included in the review such as web based mindfulness programmes, meditation, relaxation breathing, neurofeedback-based relaxation and progressive muscle relaxation. 

 

The evidence suggests mindfulness interventions had a positive impact on well-being e.g. psychological well-being and perceived stress and resilience however it was not possible to determine whether there was still an effect at 3-6 month follow up.  Meditation interventions also positively impacted on psychological and organizational employee well-being and one study showed a positive impact at 3 month follow up. The authors concluded that mindfulness and mediation based interventions were effective in improving health and performance at work.  However, the evidence regarding the relaxation interventions was questionable and no conclusions were drawn. However, in some of these studies there were low response rates and small samples. 

Author: Ravalier, Wegrzynek & Lawton

Systematic review: complementary therapies and employee well-being (2016)

10 articles were included in this systematic review.  The aim of the review was to examine the evidence regarding complementary therapies to improve health and performance at work.  A mixture of interventions was included in the review such as web based mindfulness programmes, meditation, relaxation breathing, neurofeedback-based relaxation and progressive muscle relaxation. 

 

The evidence suggests mindfulness interventions had a positive impact on well-being e.g. psychological well-being and perceived stress and resilience however it was not possible to determine whether there was still an effect at 3-6 month follow up.  Meditation interventions also positively impacted on psychological and organizational employee well-being and one study showed a positive impact at 3 month follow up. The authors concluded that mindfulness and mediation based interventions were effective in improving health and performance at work.  However, the evidence regarding the relaxation interventions was questionable and no conclusions were drawn. However, in some of these studies there were low response rates and small samples. 

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Author: Jamieson & Tuckey

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature (2017)

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature (2017)

This systematic review examined 40 studies that included a mixture of interventions, such as adapted Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), meditation, yoga and relaxation through music, adaptations of ACT and a mixture of MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000). 

 

The results showed that the one of the most popular interventions is MBSR, 75% of the studies had used MBSR or a modified version or aspects of MBSR along with another type of intervention such as MBCT.  The study also found that there are a variety of definitions of mindfulness used within papers.  Most papers define mindfulness as a state, fewer define it is a practice and even fewer define it as both.  However, the authors note that it is important for researchers to define mindfulness and identify which type of definition will be used for their research. Additionally, fewer than 50% of the studies assessed mindfulness before and after the intervention which leads to concerns about internal validity.  The results suggested that generally mindfulness interventions have a positive impact on health and well-being although there were a few studies that found differing results.  However, it is also important to measure organisational outcomes such as performance, turnover intention and productivity; currently the extant literature examining the impact of mindfulness on these outcomes is inconclusive and further research is required. 

 

Author: Jamieson & Tuckey

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature (2017)

This systematic review examined 40 studies that included a mixture of interventions, such as adapted Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), meditation, yoga and relaxation through music, adaptations of ACT and a mixture of MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000). 

 

The results showed that the one of the most popular interventions is MBSR, 75% of the studies had used MBSR or a modified version or aspects of MBSR along with another type of intervention such as MBCT.  The study also found that there are a variety of definitions of mindfulness used within papers.  Most papers define mindfulness as a state, fewer define it is a practice and even fewer define it as both.  However, the authors note that it is important for researchers to define mindfulness and identify which type of definition will be used for their research. Additionally, fewer than 50% of the studies assessed mindfulness before and after the intervention which leads to concerns about internal validity.  The results suggested that generally mindfulness interventions have a positive impact on health and well-being although there were a few studies that found differing results.  However, it is also important to measure organisational outcomes such as performance, turnover intention and productivity; currently the extant literature examining the impact of mindfulness on these outcomes is inconclusive and further research is required. 

 

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Author: Virgili

Mindfulness-Based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies (2015)

Mindfulness-Based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies (2015)

This meta-analysis of 19 studies (including dissertations) examined mindfulness interventions in 5 countries.To be included in the meta-analysis, studies had to have examined the effect of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) intervention or a comparable intervention.  Studies had to have mindfulness as the main component and to have lasted at least 4 weeks; interventions included different durations of MBSR, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness training skills and mindful communication education and lasted 4 to 64 weeks with contact time varying from 2 to 42 hours. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness-based interventions had a medium-large effect on psychological distress in working adults. All the variations of interventions had similar effect sizes and these were seen across a variety of populations that covered a range of occupations.  The positive effects on psychological distress tended to be seen at follow up, however this was quite a short term follow up (the median follow up was 5 weeks) although two longer term follow ups, at 12 months and 15 months displayed a medium-large effect.  The results suggested there was no difference between shorter and longer courses in their effectiveness.  Furthermore, the effects of mindfulness were comparable to stress management interventions (e.g. relaxation and yoga).  However, all the measures used were self-report and it may be useful in future research to compare such self-report measures with physical health measures. Yet this does support the use of shorter mindfulness interventions within an organizational context to reduce psychological distress. 

Author: Virgili

Mindfulness-Based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies (2015)

This meta-analysis of 19 studies (including dissertations) examined mindfulness interventions in 5 countries.To be included in the meta-analysis, studies had to have examined the effect of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) intervention or a comparable intervention.  Studies had to have mindfulness as the main component and to have lasted at least 4 weeks; interventions included different durations of MBSR, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness training skills and mindful communication education and lasted 4 to 64 weeks with contact time varying from 2 to 42 hours. 

 

The results showed that mindfulness-based interventions had a medium-large effect on psychological distress in working adults. All the variations of interventions had similar effect sizes and these were seen across a variety of populations that covered a range of occupations.  The positive effects on psychological distress tended to be seen at follow up, however this was quite a short term follow up (the median follow up was 5 weeks) although two longer term follow ups, at 12 months and 15 months displayed a medium-large effect.  The results suggested there was no difference between shorter and longer courses in their effectiveness.  Furthermore, the effects of mindfulness were comparable to stress management interventions (e.g. relaxation and yoga).  However, all the measures used were self-report and it may be useful in future research to compare such self-report measures with physical health measures. Yet this does support the use of shorter mindfulness interventions within an organizational context to reduce psychological distress. 

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Author: Luken & Sammons

Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout (2016)

Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout (2016)

This systematic review examined 8 studies which involved a variety of mindfulness interventions such as an adapted version of the traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), a shortened version of MBSR and non-traditional mindfulness training.  The aim was to examine the evidence in relation to using mindfulness to decrease job burnout.  Most of the study populations were health professionals and teachers although one study examined mindfulness amongst individuals from a range of sectors e.g. banking, health and retail. 7 out of the 8 studies were judged to be fair to good quality.  The studies showed that the adapted version of MBSR was associated with decreased emotional exhaustion - this was post intervention and at 3 month follow up - and a greater sense of personal achievement. In addition, the course was associated with decreased burnout after the intervention and at 3 month follow up. The shorter version of MBSR was associated with a decrease in emotional exhaustion and there were positive outcomes seen in the qualitative data such as greater calm and joy, peace and less stress. In the non-traditional version of mindfulness there was a decrease in emotional exhaustion and an increase in personal accomplishment.

 

The results suggest that there is evidence to support the use of these three types of mindfulness interventions to decrease burnout. However, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981) was not always used to measure burnout. 

Author: Luken & Sammons

Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout (2016)

This systematic review examined 8 studies which involved a variety of mindfulness interventions such as an adapted version of the traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990), a shortened version of MBSR and non-traditional mindfulness training.  The aim was to examine the evidence in relation to using mindfulness to decrease job burnout.  Most of the study populations were health professionals and teachers although one study examined mindfulness amongst individuals from a range of sectors e.g. banking, health and retail. 7 out of the 8 studies were judged to be fair to good quality.  The studies showed that the adapted version of MBSR was associated with decreased emotional exhaustion - this was post intervention and at 3 month follow up - and a greater sense of personal achievement. In addition, the course was associated with decreased burnout after the intervention and at 3 month follow up. The shorter version of MBSR was associated with a decrease in emotional exhaustion and there were positive outcomes seen in the qualitative data such as greater calm and joy, peace and less stress. In the non-traditional version of mindfulness there was a decrease in emotional exhaustion and an increase in personal accomplishment.

 

The results suggest that there is evidence to support the use of these three types of mindfulness interventions to decrease burnout. However, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981) was not always used to measure burnout. 

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Author: Aikens, Astin, Pelletier, Levanovich, Baase, Park & Bodnar

Mindfulness goes to work. Impact of an online workplace intervention (2014)

Mindfulness goes to work. Impact of an online workplace intervention (2014)

This study examined a web-based workplace mindfulness programme amongst 89 Dow Chemical employees.  The 7 week programme was comprised of a weekly 1 hour virtual class with additional online training.  Participants could attend a broadcast of the class in a meeting room or via the internet or a mobile. Each 1 hour class was made up of three parts; firstly - participants completed the audio exercises, secondly - there was a weekly progress tracking survey - each participant was sent pre-programmed email coaching and feedback in response to their survey answers and thirdly, participants could choose to receive a daily text that was relevant to their current progress.

 

A significant decrease in perceived stress and an increase in resiliency, vigor and mindfulness was seen post intervention compared to the control group and these results either stayed similar or increased at the 6 month follow up. A positive impact on healthy dietary choices was also shown.  There was also a decrease in self-reported burnout.  These findings suggest that a shorter, web based mindfulness programmes can show positive benefits similar to the full/face to face Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) programme. However, it is not possible to assess the long-term impact of this programme as a 12 month follow up was not carried out.  Additionally, it’s possible that other factors such as social factors or being given more attention may be related to some of the positive outcomes demonstrated in the results rather than just mindfulness.

Author: Aikens, Astin, Pelletier, Levanovich, Baase, Park & Bodnar

Mindfulness goes to work. Impact of an online workplace intervention (2014)

This study examined a web-based workplace mindfulness programme amongst 89 Dow Chemical employees.  The 7 week programme was comprised of a weekly 1 hour virtual class with additional online training.  Participants could attend a broadcast of the class in a meeting room or via the internet or a mobile. Each 1 hour class was made up of three parts; firstly - participants completed the audio exercises, secondly - there was a weekly progress tracking survey - each participant was sent pre-programmed email coaching and feedback in response to their survey answers and thirdly, participants could choose to receive a daily text that was relevant to their current progress.

 

A significant decrease in perceived stress and an increase in resiliency, vigor and mindfulness was seen post intervention compared to the control group and these results either stayed similar or increased at the 6 month follow up. A positive impact on healthy dietary choices was also shown.  There was also a decrease in self-reported burnout.  These findings suggest that a shorter, web based mindfulness programmes can show positive benefits similar to the full/face to face Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) programme. However, it is not possible to assess the long-term impact of this programme as a 12 month follow up was not carried out.  Additionally, it’s possible that other factors such as social factors or being given more attention may be related to some of the positive outcomes demonstrated in the results rather than just mindfulness.

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Author: Hulsheger, Feinholdt & Nubold

A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration (2015)

A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration (2015)

This intervention was conducted with participants from a variety of organisations in Germany.  The study examined the impact of a self-training intervention which included a diary booklet and surveys. The intervention was developed by Hulsheger et al (2013) and is a mixture of mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).  It included information about mindfulness and meditation, daily guided mindfulness meditations and informal exercises.  The guided meditations included The Body Scan, the Three-Minute Breathing Space, the Mindful Routine Activity exercise and a Loving Kindness Meditation exercise; participants were given written information about the meditation and an audio file. 

 

There was an increase in mindfulness, sleep quality and sleep duration over the 10 working days of the study.  However, no differences were seen in psychological detachment in the evening post work.  Factors influencing this could be the short 2-week length of the study or the lower daily practice time, the average was 10.5 minutes rather than the 45 minutes seen in conventional courses.  The changes that were seen in the aforementioned outcomes increased over the 10-day period which suggests that as participants practice more the benefits increase.  This study suggests that even a short intervention with no formal teaching may be beneficial for employees. 

Author: Hulsheger, Feinholdt & Nubold

A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration (2015)

This intervention was conducted with participants from a variety of organisations in Germany.  The study examined the impact of a self-training intervention which included a diary booklet and surveys. The intervention was developed by Hulsheger et al (2013) and is a mixture of mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).  It included information about mindfulness and meditation, daily guided mindfulness meditations and informal exercises.  The guided meditations included The Body Scan, the Three-Minute Breathing Space, the Mindful Routine Activity exercise and a Loving Kindness Meditation exercise; participants were given written information about the meditation and an audio file. 

 

There was an increase in mindfulness, sleep quality and sleep duration over the 10 working days of the study.  However, no differences were seen in psychological detachment in the evening post work.  Factors influencing this could be the short 2-week length of the study or the lower daily practice time, the average was 10.5 minutes rather than the 45 minutes seen in conventional courses.  The changes that were seen in the aforementioned outcomes increased over the 10-day period which suggests that as participants practice more the benefits increase.  This study suggests that even a short intervention with no formal teaching may be beneficial for employees. 

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