Advertisement

Mindfulness

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 627–638 | Cite as

Mindfulness Training Reduces Stress at Work: a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Brian Chin
  • Jerry Slutsky
  • Julianna Raye
  • John David CreswellEmail author
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions have been suggested as one way to improve employee well-being in the workplace. Despite these purported benefits, there have been few well-controlled randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating mindfulness training in the workplace. Here, we conducted a two-arm RCT at work among employees of a digital marketing firm comparing the efficacy of a high-dose 6-week mindfulness training to a low-dose single-day mindfulness training for improving multiple measures of employee well-being assessed using ecological momentary assessment. High-dose mindfulness training reduced both perceived and momentary stress, and buffered employees against worsened affect and decreased coping efficacy compared to low-dose mindfulness training. These results provide well-controlled evidence that mindfulness training programs can reduce momentary stress at work, suggesting that more intensive mindfulness training doses (i.e., 6 weeks) may be necessary for improving workplace well-being outcomes. This RCT utilizes a novel experience sampling approach to measure the effects of a mindfulness intervention on employee well-being and considers potential dose-response effects of mindfulness training at work.

Keywords

Mindfulness Stress Coping Well-being 

Notes

Author Contributions

BC: Performed the data analysis, wrote the paper. JS: Executed the study, assisted with the data analysis, assisted with designing the study, collaborated in writing and editing of the manuscript. JR: Assisted with executing the study, wrote part of the methods, collaborated in writing and editing of the manuscript. JDC: Designed the study, supervised execution of the study, supervised data analysis, supervised manuscript preparation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in this study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Carnegie Mellon University Institutional Review Board and the American Psychological Association.

Conflict of Interest

JR is a senior trainer with Unified Mindfulness. BC, JS, and JDC declare no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Aikens, K. A., Astin, J., Pelletier, K. R., Levanovich, K., Baase, C. M., Park, Y. Y., & Bodnar, C. M. (2014). Mindfulness goes to work: Impact of an online workplace intervention. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(7), 721–731.  https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000000209.Google Scholar
  2. Anestis, M. D., Selby, E. A., Crosby, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., Engel, S. G., & Joiner, T. E. (2010). A comparison of retrospective self-report versus ecological momentary assessment measures of affective lability in the examination of its relationship with bulimic symptomatology. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48(7), 607–613.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2010.03.012.Google Scholar
  3. Brendel, D. (2015, February 11). There are risks to mindfulness at work. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/02/there-are-risks-to-mindfulness-at-work
  4. Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 211–237.Google Scholar
  5. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2009). How long does a mindfulness-based stress reduction program need to be? A review of class contact hours and effect sizes for psychological distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 627–638.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont symposium on applied social psychology. SAGE: Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Colligan, T. W., & Higgins, E. M. (2006). Workplace stress. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 21(2), 89–97.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J490v21n02_07.Google Scholar
  8. Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 491–516.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139.Google Scholar
  9. Creswell, J. D., & Lindsay, E. K. (2014). How does mindfulness training affect health? A mindfulness stress buffering account. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(6), 401–407.Google Scholar
  10. Creswell, J. D., Myers, H. F., Cole, S. W., & Irwin, M. R. (2009). Mindfulness meditation training effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infected adults: A small randomized controlled trial. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 23(2), 184–188.Google Scholar
  11. Eberth, J., & Sedlmeier, P. (2012). The effects of mindfulness meditation: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 3(3), 174–189.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-012-0101-x.Google Scholar
  12. Gelles, D. (2015) At Aetna, a C.E.O.’s Management by Mantra. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/business/at-aetna-a-ceos-management-by-mantra.html
  13. Glomb, T. M., Yang, T., Bono, J. E., & Duffy, M. K. (2011). Mindfulness at work. In Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management. (Vol. 30, pp. 115–157). Emerald Group publishing limited.  https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-7301(2011)0000030005.
  14. Good, D. J., Lyddy, C. J., Glomb, T. M., Bono, J. E., Brown, K. W., Duffy, M. K., et al. (2016). Contemplating mindfulness at work: An integrative review. Journal of Management, 42(1), 114–142.Google Scholar
  15. Harris, A. R., Jennings, P. A., Katz, D. A., Abenavoli, R. M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Promoting stress management and wellbeing in educators: Feasibility and efficacy of a school-based yoga and mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness, 7(1), 143–154.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0451-2.Google Scholar
  16. Hülsheger, U. R., Feinholdt, A., & Nübold, A. (2015). A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 88(3), 464–489.  https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12115.Google Scholar
  17. Hyland, P. K., Lee, R. A., & Mills, M. J. (2015). Mindfulness at work: A new approach to improving individual and organizational performance. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 8(4), 576–602.  https://doi.org/10.1017/iop.2015.41.Google Scholar
  18. Kachan, D., Olano, H., Tannenbaum, S. L., Annane, D. W., Mehta, A., Arheart, K. L., et al. (2017). Prevalence of mindfulness practices in the US workforce: National Health Interview Survey. Preventing Chronic Disease, 14(1).  https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd14.160034.
  19. Kiburz, K. M., Allen, T. D., & French, K. A. (2017). Work–family conflict and mindfulness: Investigating the effectiveness of a brief training intervention. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(7), 1016–1037.  https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2181.Google Scholar
  20. Krasner, M. S., Epstein, R. M., Beckman, H., Suchman, A. L., Chapman, B., Mooney, C. J., & Quill, T. E. (2009). Association of an Educational Program in mindful communication with burnout, empathy, and attitudes among primary care physicians. JAMA, 302(12), 1284–1293.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2009.1384.Google Scholar
  21. Lomas, T., Medina, J. C., Ivtzan, I., Rupprecht, S., Hart, R., & Eiroa-Orosa, F. J. (2017). The impact of mindfulness on well-being and performance in the workplace: An inclusive systematic review of the empirical literature. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(4), 492–513.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2017.1308924.Google Scholar
  22. Moore, R. C., Depp, C. A., Wetherell, J. L., & Lenze, E. J. (2016). Ecological momentary assessment versus standard assessment instruments for measuring mindfulness, depressed mood, and anxiety among older adults. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 75, 116–123  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.01.011.Google Scholar
  23. Muchinsky, P. M. (2000). Emotions in the workplace: The neglect of organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21(7), 801–805.  https://doi.org/10.1002/1099-1379(200011)21:7<801::AID-JOB999>3.0.CO;2-A.Google Scholar
  24. Nisbett, R., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84(3), 231–259.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.3.231.Google Scholar
  25. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (Vol. 1). Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Roche, M., Haar, J. M., & Luthans, F. (2014). The role of mindfulness and psychological capital on the well-being of leaders. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(4), 476–489.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037183.Google Scholar
  27. Roeser, R. W., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Jha, A., Cullen, M., Wallace, L., Wilensky, R., et al. (2013). Mindfulness training and reductions in teacher stress and burnout: Results from two randomized, waitlist-control field trials. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 787–804.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032093.Google Scholar
  28. Seppala, E. (2015). How meditation benefits CEOs. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/12/how-meditation-benefits-ceos
  29. Shiffman, S., Stone, A. A., & Hufford, M. R. (2008). Ecological momentary assessment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 4(1), 1–32.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.3.022806.091415.Google Scholar
  30. Shonin, E., Gordon, W. V., Dunn, T. J., Singh, N. N., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Meditation awareness training (MAT) for work-related wellbeing and job performance: A randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12(6), 806–823.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-014-9513-2.Google Scholar
  31. Smyth, J. M., & Stone, A. A. (2003). Ecological momentary assessment research in behavioral medicine. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4(1), 35–52.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023657221954.Google Scholar
  32. Solhan, M. B., Trull, T. J., Jahng, S., & Wood, P. K. (2009). Clinical assessment of affective instability: Comparing EMA indices, questionnaire reports, and retrospective recall. Psychological Assessment, 21(3), 425–436.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016869.Google Scholar
  33. Stone, A. A., & Broderick, J. E. (2007). Real-time data collection for pain: Appraisal and current status. Pain Medicine, 8(suppl 3), S85–S93.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4637.2007.00372.x.Google Scholar
  34. Virgili, M. (2015). Mindfulness-based interventions reduce psychological distress in working adults: A meta-analysis of intervention studies. Mindfulness, 6(2), 326–337.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0264-0.Google Scholar
  35. Weinstein, N., Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). A multi-method examination of the effects of mindfulness on stress attribution, coping, and emotional well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(3), 374–385.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2008.12.008.Google Scholar
  36. Wolever, R. Q., Bobinet, K. J., McCabe, K., Mackenzie, E. R., Fekete, E., Kusnick, C. A., & Baime, M. (2012). Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17(2), 246–258.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027278.Google Scholar
  37. Young, S. (2016). What is mindfulness? A contemplative perspective. In In handbook of mindfulness in education (pp. 29–45). New York: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Unified MindfulnessLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations