A Pilot Study of Mindfulness Skills to Reduce Stress among a Diverse Paraprofessional Workforce

Abstract

Paraprofessional workforces are becoming more common and can serve the otherwise unmet needs of diverse children and families. Compared to other workforces, limited research to date has explored factors such as stress and burnout that influence the sustainability of this workforce. Mindfulness-based interventions have been studied as stress-reduction programs for other workforces, but it is currently unknown whether mindfulness is acceptable to paraprofessionals, particularly those of a diverse ethnicity living in low-income, urban environments. The current investigation is a pilot study examining whether six weeks of mindfulness-based skills training can reduce stress, burnout, and improve sleep quality among a diverse paraprofessional workforce. Twenty six paraprofessionals (ages 24–58, M = 37.04, SD = 9.65) completed measures pre-training, post-training, and at a four week follow-up. Results indicated that this paraprofessional workforce found mindfulness practices acceptable and experienced significant reductions in perceived stress and emotional exhaustion, as well as improved sleep quality (p < .05) Mindfulness-based interventions may be useful in supporting the wellbeing of paraprofessionals from diverse backgrounds working in low-income, urban environments.

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Funding

The study was funded by an anonymous donor.

Author Contributions

R.H.J., S.G., D.R., T.M., M.A.: designed and executed the study and wrote the paper. R.H.J., D.L., J.K.: analyzed the data. D.L., A.W. collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marc Atkins.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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All procedures performed were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

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Jacobs, R.H., Guo, S., Kaundinya, P. et al. A Pilot Study of Mindfulness Skills to Reduce Stress among a Diverse Paraprofessional Workforce. J Child Fam Stud 26, 2579–2588 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0771-z

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Stress
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Sleep
  • Burnout