Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies

Within the past few decades, there has been a surge of interest in the investigation of mindfulness as a psychological construct and as a form of clinical intervention. This article reviews the empirical literature on the effects of mindfulness on psychological health. We begin with a discussion of the construct of mindfulness, differences between Buddhist and Western psychological conceptualizations of mindfulness, and how mindfulness has been integrated into Western medicine and psychology, before reviewing three areas of empirical research: cross-sectional, correlational research on the associations between mindfulness and various indicators of psychological health; intervention research on the effects of mindfulness-oriented interventions on psychological health; and laboratory-based, experimental research on the immediate effects of mindfulness inductions on emotional and behavioral functioning. We conclude that mindfulness brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, and improved behavioral regulation. The review ends with a discussion on mechanisms of change of mindfulness interventions and suggested directions for future research.

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review

The purpose of this exploratory study was to obtain greater insight into the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on the mental health of employees. Using PsycINFO, PubMed, and CINAHL, we performed a systematic review in October 2015 of studies investigating the effects of MBSR and MBCT on various aspects of employees’ mental health. Studies with a pre-post design (i.e. without a control group) were excluded. 24 articles were identified, describing 23 studies: 22 on the effects of MBSR and 1 on the effects of MBSR in combination with some aspects of MBCT. Since no study focused exclusively on MBCT, its effects are not described in this systematic review. Of the 23 studies, 2 were of high methodological quality, 15 were of medium quality and 6 were of low quality. A meta-analysis was not performed due to the emergent and relatively uncharted nature of the topic of investigation, the exploratory character of this study, and the diversity of outcomes in the studies reviewed. Based on our analysis, the strongest outcomes were reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension of burnout), stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and occupational stress. Improvements were found in terms of mindfulness, personal accomplishment (a dimension of burnout), (occupational) self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

The results of this systematic review suggest that MBSR may help to improve psychological functioning in employees.

Abbreviated mindfulness intervention for job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in primary care clinicians: a pilot study.

Burnout, attrition, and low work satisfaction of primary care physicians are growing concerns and can have a negative influence on health care. Interventions for clinicians that improve work-life balance are few and poorly understood. We undertook this study as a first step in investigating whether an abbreviated mindfulness intervention could increase job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion among primary care clinicians. A total of 30 primary care clinicians participated in an abbreviated mindfulness course. We used a single-sample, pre-post design. At 4 points in time (baseline, and 1 day, 8 weeks, and 9 months postintervention), participants completed a set of online measures assessing burnout, anxiety, stress, resilience, and compassion. We used a linear mixed-effects model analysis to assess changes in outcome measures. Participants had improvements compared with baseline at all 3 follow-up time points. At 9 months postintervention, they had significantly better scores (1) on all Maslach Burnout Inventory burnout subscales-Emotional Exhaustion (P =.009), Depersonalization (P = .005), and Personal Accomplishment (P <.001); (2) on the Depression (P =.001), Anxiety (P =.006), and Stress (P = .002) subscales of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21; and (3) for perceived stress (P = .002) assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale. There were no significant changes on the 14-item Resilience Scale and the Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale.

In this uncontrolled pilot study, participating in an abbreviated mindfulness training course adapted for primary care clinicians was associated with reductions in indicators of job burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress. Modified mindfulness training may be a time-efficient tool to help support clinician health and well-being, which may have implications for patient care.