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Examining Practice Effects in a Randomized Controlled Trial: Daily Life Mindfulness Practice Predicts Stress Buffering Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training



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.

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Authors and Affiliations



AWM: performed the data analysis, wrote the paper. JS: executed the study, assisted with the data analysis, assisted with designing the study, collaborated in writing and editing of the manuscript. JR: delivered the mindfulness intervention, wrote part of the methods, collaborated in writing and editing of the manuscript. JDC: designed the study, supervised execution of the study, supervised data analysis, supervised manuscript preparation.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew W. Manigault.

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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.

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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).

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