Skip to main content

The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Educator Stress and Well-Being: Results from a Pilot Study

Abstract

We assessed the effectiveness of an adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on educator stress and well-being. The study included 36 high school educators who participated in either an 8-week adapted MBSR program or a waitlist control group. Results suggested that educators who participated in MBSR reported significant gains in self-regulation, self-compassion, and mindfulness-related skills (observation, nonjudgment, and nonreacting). Significant improvements in multiple dimensions of sleep quality were found as well. These findings provide promising evidence of the effectiveness of MBSR as a strategy to promote educator’s personal and professional well-being. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Allensworth, E., Ponisciak, S., & Mazzeo, C. (2009). The schools teachers leave: Teacher mobility in Chicago Public Schools. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/publications/CCSR_Teacher_Mobility.pdf.

  • Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., Walsh, E., Duggan, D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15(3), 329–342.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bandura, A., Caprara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., Gerbino, M., & Pastorelli, C. (2003). Role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychosocial functioning. Child Development, 74(3), 769–782. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00567.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Benjamini, Y., & Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B, 57, 289–300.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benn, R., Akiva, T., Arel, S., & Roeser, R. W. (2012). Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1476–1487. doi:10.1037/a0027537.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review, 21, 141–170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boulet, J., & Boss, M. W. (1991). Reliability and validity of the Brief Symptom Inventory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 3, 433–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brackett, M. A., Palomera, R., Mojsa-Kaja, J., Reyes, M. R., & Salovey, P. (2010). Emotion-regulation, ability, burnout, and job satisfaction among British secondary school teachers. Psychology in the Schools, 47, 406–417. doi:10.1002/pits.20478.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buysse, D. J., Reynolds, C. F., Monk, T. H., Berman, S. R., & Kupfer, D. J. (1989). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: a new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiatry research, 28(2), 193–213.

  • Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Patel, K. D., & Goodey, E. (2003). Mindfulness-based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress, and immune parameters in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 571–581.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Carson, R. L., Baumgartner, J. J., Matthews, R. A., & Tsouloupas, C. N. (2010). Emotional exhaustion, absenteeism, and turnover intentions in childcare teachers: examining the impact of physical activity behaviors. Journal of Health Psychology, 15(6), 905–914.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, P. M., Martin, S. E., & Dennis, T. A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: methodological challenges and direction for child development research. Child Development, 75, 317–333. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00673.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cullen, M., & Wallace, L. (2010). Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques in Education (SMART) training manual. Unpublished manual, Impact Foundation: Aurora, CO, USA.

  • Darling-Hammond, L. (2001). The challenge of staffing our schools. Educational Leadership, 58(8), 12–17.

    Google Scholar 

  • Derogatis, L.R. (1975). Brief Symptom Inventory. Clinical Psychometric Research: Baltimore, MD.

  • Emmer, E. T., Stough, L. M., & Emmer, E. T. (2010). Classroom management : a critical part of educational psychology, with implications for teacher education. Educational Psychologist, 36, 103–112.

    Google Scholar 

  • Galantino, M., Baime, M., Maguire, M., Szapary, P. O., & Farrar, J. T. (2005). Association of psychological and physiological measures of stress in health-care professionals during an 8-week mindfulness meditation program: mindfulness in practice. Stress and Health, 21, 255–261. doi:10.1002/smi.1062.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gross, C. R., Kreitzer, M. J., Reilly-Spong, M., Wall, M., Winbush, N. Y., Patterson, R., et al. (2011). Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus pharmacotherapy for chronic primary insomnia: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing., 7, 76–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00573-7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2005). Can instructional and emotional support in the first-grade classroom make a difference for children at risk of school failure? Child Development, 76, 949–967.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 169–183. doi:10.1037/a0018555.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ingersoll, R. M. (2002). The teacher shortage: a case of wrong diagnosis and wrong prescription. NASSP Bulletin, 86(631), 16–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ingersoll, R., & Smith, T. (2003). The wrong solution to the teacher shortage. Educational Leadership, 60(8), 30–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jennings, P. a., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). The prosocial classroom: teacher social and emotional competence in relation to student and classroom outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 491–525. doi:10.3102/0034654308325693.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jennings, P.A., Frank, J.L., Snowberg, K., Coccia, M., & Greenberg, M.T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly. doi:10.1037/spq0000035.

  • Johnson, L. C., Murphy, S. A., & Dimond, M. (1996). Reliability, construct validity, and scale norms of the Brief Symptom Inventory when administered to bereaved patients. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 4, 117–121.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Dell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., Burney, R., & Sellers, W. (1986). Four year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain: treatment outcomes and compliance. Clinical Journal of Pain, 2, 159–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K. E., Pbert, L., et al. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 936–943.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kabat-Zinn, J., Wheeler, E., Light, T., Skillings, A., Scharf, M. J., Cropley, T. G., et al. (1998). Influence of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosomatic Medicine, 60, 625–632.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kafetsios, K., Anagnostopoulos, F., Lempesis, E., & Valindra, A. (2013). Doctors’ emotion regulation and patent satisfaction: a social–functional perspective. Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10410236.2012.738150.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kavanagh, D. J., & Bower, G. H. (1985). Mood and self-efficacy: impact of joy and sadness on perceived capabilities. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 9(5), 507–525.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kristeller, J. L., & Hallett, C. B. (1999). An exploratory study of meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 357–363. doi:10.1177/135910539900400305.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ma, S. H., & Teasdale, J. D. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 31–40. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.72.1.31.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mashburn, A. J., Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B. K., Downer, J. T., Barbarin, O. A., Bryant, D., Burchinal, M., Early, D.M., & Howes, C. (2008). Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children’s development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development, 79(3), 732–749.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1981). The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of Occupational Behaviour, 2, 99–113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meiklejohn, J., Phillips, C., Freedman, M. L., Griffin, M. L., Biegel, G., Roach, A. T., et al. (2012). Integrating mindfulness training into K-12 education: fostering the resilience of teachers and students. Mindfulness, 3, 291–307. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0094-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mikolajczak, M., Tran, V., Brotheridge, C. M., & Gross, J. J. (2009). Using an emotion regulation framework to predict the outcomes of emotional labor. In N. M. Ashkanasy, W. J. Zerbe, & C. E. J. Ha¨rtel (Eds.), Research on emotion in organizations: emotions in groups, organizations and cultures (pp. 245–273). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Montgomery, C., & Rupp, A. A. (2005). A meta-analysis for exploring the diverse causes and effects of stress in teachers. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue canadienne de l’éducation, 28(3), 458–486. doi:10.2307/4126479.

    Google Scholar 

  • Poulin, P. A. (2009). Mindfulness-based wellness education: A longitudinal evaluation with students in initial teacher education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Poulin, P. A., Mackenzie, C. S., Soloway, G., & Karayolas, E. (2008). Mindfulness training as an evidence-based approach to reducing stress and promoting well-being among human services professionals. Mindfulness in Human Services, 46, 35–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Provasnik, S., & Dorfman, S. (2005). Mobility in the teacher workforce (NCES 2005-114). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

  • Raes, F., Pommier, E., Neff, K. D., & Van Gucht, D. (2011). Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the self-compassion scale. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 18(3), 250–2555.

    Google Scholar 

  • Randolph, P. D., Caldera, Y. M., Tacone, A. M., & Greak, M. L. (1999). The long-term combined effects of medical treatment and a mindfulness-based behavioral program for the multidisciplinary management of chronic pain in west Texas. Pain Digest, 9, 103–112.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Pianta R.C., Cox, J.J., & Bradley, R. (2003). Teacher-rated family involvement and children’s social and academic outcomes in kindergarten. Early Education and Development, 14, 179–198.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robinson, F. P., Mathews, H. L., & Witek-Janusek, L. (2003). Psycho-endocrine-immune response to mindfulness-based stress reduction in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus: a quasi experimental study. Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, 9, 683–694.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roeser, R. W., Skinner, E., Beers, J., & Jennings, P. a. (2012). Mindfulness training and teachers’ professional development: an emerging area of research and practice. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 167–173.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro, S. L., Bootzin, R. R., Fiqueredo, A. J., Lopez, A. M., & Schwartz, G. E. (2003). Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 54, 85–91. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00546-9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12, 164–176. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.12.2.164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sutton, R. (2004). Emotional regulation goals and strategies of teachers. Social Psychology of Education, 7(4), 379–398.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sutton, R. E., & Wheatley, K. F. (2003). Teachers' emotions and teaching: a review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 15, 327–358.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tsouloupas, C. N., Carson, R. L., Matthews, R., Grawitch, M. J., & Barber, L. K. (2010). Exploring the association between teachers’ perceived student misbehaviour and emotional exhaustion: the importance of teacher efficacy beliefs and emotion regulation. Educational Psychology, 30(2), 173–189.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weissbecker, I., Salmon, P. G., Studts, J. L., Floyd, A. R., Dedert, E. A., & Sephton, S. (2002). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and sense of coherence among women with fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 9, 297–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams, V. S. L., Jones, L. V., & Tukey, J. W. (1999). Controlling error in multiple comparisons, with examples from state-to-state differences in educational achievement. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 24(1 ), 42–69.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer L. Frank.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Frank, J.L., Reibel, D., Broderick, P. et al. The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Educator Stress and Well-Being: Results from a Pilot Study. Mindfulness 6, 208–216 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0246-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0246-2

Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • MBSR
  • Meditation
  • Teachers
  • Educators
  • Effectiveness
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-compassion
  • Sleep
  • Well-being
  • Observation
  • Nonjudgment
  • Nonreacting