Mindfulness practice is thought to underlie the therapeutic effects of mindfulness interventions. Yet, more research is needed to evaluate mindfulness practice effects and identify effective practice types. The present study examined the effects of two types of mindfulness practice (audio-guided and daily life mindfulness practice) on measures of stress and coping in a workplace sample.
Employees from a digital marketing firm undergoing stressful organizational restructuring (nfinal = 60; aged 21–57; 95.0% white; 66.7% women) were randomly assigned to a high- (1-day seminar plus 6-week practice) or low-dose (1-day seminar) mindfulness training program. Participants completed 3 days of ecological momentary assessments of stress/coping pre- and post-interventions. Audio-guided mindfulness practice was assessed by the number of audio-guided practice sessions completed during the intervention period; daily life mindfulness practice was indexed by how often participants reported applying mindfulness to daily activities during the intervention period.
Across the full sample, more frequent daily life mindfulness practice buffered against pre- to post-intervention increases in stress ratings (β = − .18, p = .002), stressor frequency (β = − .32, p < .001), and stressor intensity (β = − .27, p = .003), and decreases in successful coping (β = .25, p = .005). Comparable (but weaker) results were observed for audio-guided mindfulness practice (stress ratings: β = − .15, p = .013; stressor frequency: β = − .27, p < .001; stressor intensity: β = − .22, p = .015; successful coping: β = .17, p = .066).
Much of the mindfulness meditation RCT literature to date has not measured or reported guided or daily life practices, and this work suggests that measuring both may be important for understanding the stress buffering effects of mindfulness meditation training.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Birtwell, K., Williams, K., van Marwijk, H., Armitage, C. J., & Sheffield, D. (2019). An exploration of formal and informal mindfulness practice and associations with wellbeing. Mindfulness, 10(1), 89–99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0951-y
Canby, N. K., Eichel, K., Peters, S. I., Rahrig, H., & Britton, W. B. (2021). Predictors of out-of-class mindfulness practice adherence during and after a mindfulness-based intervention. Psychosomatic Medicine, Published Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000873
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593–600. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0495
Chin, B., Slutsky, J., Raye, J., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces stress at work: A randomized controlled trial. Mindfulness, 10(4), 627–638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-1022-0
Crane, C., Crane, R. S., Eames, C., Fennell, M. J. V., Silverton, S., Williams, J. M. G., & Barnhofer, T. (2014). The effects of amount of home meditation practice in mindfulness based cognitive therapy on hazard of relapse to depression in the Staying Well after Depression Trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 63, 17–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2014.08.015
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. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414547415
Hawley, L. L., Schwartz, D., Bieling, P. J., Irving, J., Corcoran, K., Farb, N. A. S., Anderson, A. K., & Segal, Z. V. (2014). Mindfulness practice, rumination and clinical outcome in mindfulness-based treatment. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-013-9586-4
Holm, S. (1979). A simple sequentially rejective multiple test procedure. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, 6(2), 65–70. JSTOR.
Jacobs, T. L., Shaver, P. R., Epel, E. S., Zanesco, A. P., Aichele, S. R., Bridwell, D. A., Rosenberg, E. L., King, B. G., MacLean, K. A., Sahdra, B. K., Kemeny, M. E., Ferrer, E., Wallace, B. A., & Saron, C. D. (2013). Self-reported mindfulness and cortisol during a Shamatha meditation retreat. Health Psychology, 32(10), 1104–1109. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031362
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. Delta Trade Paperbacks.
Kabat-Zinn, J., & Santorelli, S. (1999). Mindfulness-based stress reduction professional training resource manual. Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society.
Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K. E., Pbert, L., Lenderking, W. R., & Santorelli, S. F. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(7), 936–943. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.149.7.936
Khoury, B., Sharma, M., Rush, S. E., & Fournier, C. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78(6), 519–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.03.009
Lengacher, C. A., Johnson-Mallard, V., Post-White, J., Moscoso, M. S., Jacobsen, P. B., Klein, T. W., Widen, R. H., Fitzgerald, S. G., Shelton, M. M., Barta, M., Goodman, M., Cox, C. E., & Kip, K. E. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for survivors of breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 18(12), 1261–1272. https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.1529
Lindsay, E. K., Chin, B., Greco, C. M., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Wright, A. G. C., et al. (2018). How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(6), 944–973. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000134
Lindsay, E. K., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mechanisms of mindfulness training: Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT). Clinical Psychology Review, 51, 48–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2016.10.011
Lindsay, E. K., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Smyth, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces loneliness and increases social contact in a randomized controlled trial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(9), 3488–3493. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1813588116
Lorah, J. (2018). Effect size measures for multilevel models: Definition, interpretation, and TIMSS example. Large-Scale Assessments in Education, 6(1), 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-018-0061-2
Parsons, C. E., Crane, C., Parsons, L. J., Fjorback, L. O., & Kuyken, W. (2017). Home practice in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction: A systematic review and meta-analysis of participants’ mindfulness practice and its association with outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 95, 29–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2017.05.004
Re, A. C. D., Flückiger, C., Goldberg, S. B., & Hoyt, W. T. (2013). Monitoring mindfulness practice quality: An important consideration in mindfulness practice. Psychotherapy Research, 23(1), 54–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2012.729275
Slutsky, J., Chin, B., Raye, J., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training improves employee well-being: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24(1), 139–149. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000132
Strohmaier, S. (2020). The relationship between doses of mindfulness-based programs and depression, anxiety, stress, and mindfulness: A dose-response meta-regression of randomized controlled trials. Mindfulness, 11(6), 1315–1335. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01319-4
Strohmaier, S., Jones, F. W., & Cane, J. E. (2021). Effects of length of mindfulness practice on mindfulness, depression, anxiety, and stress: A randomized controlled experiment. Mindfulness, 12(1), 198–214. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01512-5
Vettese, L. C., Toneatto, T., Stea, J. N., Nguyen, L., & Wang, J. J. (2009). Do mindfulness meditation participants do their homework? And does it make a difference? A review of the empirical evidence. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23(3), 198–225. https://doi.org/10.1891/0889-83220.127.116.11
Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate
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 an owner and lead trainer of Unified Mindfulness/UM-HUB LLC; JDC received research funds from Headspace, Inc; AWM and JS report no conflicts of interest.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Manigault, A.W., Slutsky, ., Raye, J. et al. Examining Practice Effects in a Randomized Controlled Trial: Daily Life Mindfulness Practice Predicts Stress Buffering Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training. Mindfulness 12, 2487–2497 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01718-1