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October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3)

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Research Plus

Mindfulness training for managers

Middle managers who took part in a mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) training course had lower perceived work-related stress, at least in the short term, according to this randomised controlled trial. All participants were middle managers, aged over 26, with no serious mental or physical health conditions, and no previous training in MBSR. In total, 156 participants, from 30 companies, were randomised either to the intervention or a wait-list control – 144 completed the trial. The intervention comprised eight weekly three-hour MBSR group sessions, one seven-hour group session and an individual follow-up session. Outcomes were measured three months later. Compared with the wait-list group, MBSR participants scored lower for perceived work-related stress, negative affectivity, intensity of somatic complaints, and sickness absence (which, for the MBSR group fell from 4.5 days in the three months prior to the intervention, to 1.4 days in the three months after the intervention) and higher for self-esteem (p <0.001 for all comparisons). Study limitations include the short follow-up time and that the control group received no intervention – such as being provided with information on work-related stress – so the placebo effect cannot be ruled out.


Occupational Medicine 2016; online first: doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqw091


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3) pp40-41