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Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Educators: Effects of a School-Based Cluster Randomized Controlled Study

Abstract

Objectives

The present study investigates the effectiveness of an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention designed to improve educator wellbeing and implemented concurrently in multiple school sites.

Methods

Using a cluster (school) randomized controlled design, 185 educators working in 20 Australian schools were randomized to an intervention group (10 schools, number = 85, mean age = 42.34 years) or a control group (10 schools, number = 100, mean age = 43.7 years). Multiple regression analysis was performed to examine effects of intervention on wellbeing and teaching-related outcomes and students’ sense of connectedness to teachers measured post intervention after controlling for the baseline.

Results

The intervention predicted lower levels of perceived stress (β = − 0.196, p < 0.01, 95% CI [− 4.00, − 0.92]) and sleep difficulty (β = − 0.175, p < 0.05, 95% CI [− 7.54, − 0.46]) and higher levels of mindfulness (β = 0.252, p < 0.001, 95% CI [2.60, 6.12]), self-compassion (β = 0.207, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.14, 0.43]) and cognitive reappraisal in emotion regulation (β = 0.152, p < 0.05, 95% CI [0.19, 4.03]) at immediate post-intervention, with medium to large effect sizes, after controlling for effects of corresponding variables at baseline. These effects largely remained significant at 6-week post-intervention. Improved educator wellbeing did not accompany improvements in teaching but students’ sense of connectedness to teachers.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may contribute to the overall educator wellbeing and this may increase students’ sense of connectedness to teachers without themselves undergoing any intervention.

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Fig. 1

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Acknowledgements

Our sincere gratitude goes to the educators and their students who participated in this project and the facilitators of Mind with Heart who delivered a mindfulness-based intervention. We also thank the staff of Metropolitan Region, Organisational Health; Department of Education, Queensland; and Business Engagement and Development, Department of Education, NSW, for their valuable support. The summary version of findings of this study was presented to the research participants, the above-named agencies and Teachers Health Foundation.

Funding

This project was supported by a medical research grant awarded by Teachers Health Foundation.

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Correspondence to Yoon-Suk Hwang.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Hwang, YS., Goldstein, H., Medvedev, O.N. et al. Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Educators: Effects of a School-Based Cluster Randomized Controlled Study. Mindfulness 10, 1417–1436 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01147-1

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Keywords

  • Educator stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-compassion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Student perception