Mindfulness

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 639–654

Acceptability, Feasibility, and Efficacy of a Workplace Mindfulness Program for Public Sector Employees: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial with Informant Reports

  • Larissa Bartlett
  • Pamela Lovell
  • Petr Otahal
  • Kristy Sanderson
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s12671-016-0643-4

Cite this article as:
Bartlett, L., Lovell, P., Otahal, P. et al. Mindfulness (2017) 8: 639. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0643-4

Abstract

Mindfulness training appears to reduce stress and distress, but little is known about whether it results in changes that can be observed by colleagues, family, or friends or its appropriateness as a workplace stress management intervention for a large and distributed public sector workforce. This study evaluated a pilot 5-week Mindfulness at Work Program (MaWP) for acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy in relation to stress and related mental health and productivity problems for public sector employees. A parallel group randomized controlled trial compared the MaWP intervention (n = 20) with an information-only control (n = 100). Exploratory qualitative and quantitative methods were used to assess changes observed by informants (n = 63). Results suggest a high degree of acceptability, although location and inflexible work schedules presented feasibility obstacles. Compared with the control, the primary outcome of mindfulness improved for MaWP participants (d = 0.57, p < 0.001), as did perceived stress (d = 0.97, p < 0.001), psychological distress (d = 0.61, p < 0.001), health-related quality of life (d = 0.51, p = 0.002), and social functioning (d = 0.08, p = 0.019). All secondary outcomes were at least partly mediated by changes in mindfulness. The intervention thus appears to have potential merit as a workplace intervention for public sector employees across a range of outcomes. Obtaining informant observations was feasible and while qualitative analyses indicated positive changes that supported self-reported outcomes, quantitative analyses returned ambiguous results. A seven-item scale adapted from a popular self-report mindfulness scale for use by informants showed promise, but further work is needed to establish validity, reliability, and scalability of this method of assessing observable changes following mindfulness training.

Keywords

Mindfulness Workplace Stress Mental health Informants 

Supplementary material

12671_2016_643_MOESM1_ESM.docx (99 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 98 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Groom Kennedy Lawyers Scholarship for Medical Research

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

    Authors and Affiliations

    • Larissa Bartlett
      • 1
    • Pamela Lovell
      • 2
    • Petr Otahal
      • 1
    • Kristy Sanderson
      • 1
    1. 1.Menzies Institute for Medical ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
    2. 2.Mindful Intent Pty LtdHobartAustralia

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