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Mindfulness training improves employee well-being: A randomized controlled trial (Slutsky et al., 2019)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

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

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a mindfulness training intervention on productivity and attitudes about attentional focus, job satisfaction, and work–life conflicts.  

  • The study used a randomized controlled trial design. The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and control group members. Outcome data were collected through daily diaries that participants kept for three days, as well as through experience sampling surveys that participants received on their smartphones throughout the day, both before and after the intervention. 

  • The study found the mindfulness intervention had a significant positive impact on attentional focus and a significant negative impact on work–life conflict.  

  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the mindfulness training intervention, and not to other factors. 

Intervention Examined

Mindfulness Training Intervention

Features of the Intervention

The intervention consisted of an initial live half-day training workshop that taught the principles of Unified Mindfulness followed by a six-week training program. During the six-week program, participants were offered a series of 10 training videos, each about 5 to 10 minutes long and followed by a quiz; 25-minute guided mindfulness meditation audio recordings that participants were expected to complete once per day for five days each week; weekly group phone conferences to receive further instruction and feedback; and an opportunity for each participant to discuss experiences in the program by phone with the training instructor.  

Features of the Study

The study used a randomized controlled trial design. The authors enrolled 60 participants who were employees at a digital marking company based in Ohio. To be eligible to participate, individuals had to be at least 18 years old, own a smartphone, and have no recent mindfulness experience. Eligible participants who completed daily diaries about attitudes and attended the in-person mindfulness workshop were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group. The control group received a low dose of mindfulness training (that is, through the initial workshop, with no additional services). The treatment group received a high dose of mindfulness training (that is, through the workshop, plus the six-week intervention described above). The study participants were mostly White (95 percent) and female (67 percent), with an average age of about 31.  

The authors used statistical models to compare changes in attitudes and productivity across groups following the intervention. Specifically, the outcomes included attentional focus (the ability to direct one’s attention), job satisfaction, work–life conflict (the extent to which work life disrupts personal life), life–work conflict (the extent to which personal life disrupts work life), and perceived productivity. Outcome data were collected both through daily diaries that participants kept for three days, as well as through experience sampling surveys that participants received on their smartphones throughout the day. Following the intervention, all participants responded to the experience sampling surveys and 54 completed daily diaries.  

Findings

  • Attitudes. The study found the intervention had a significant positive impact on attentional focus and a significant negative impact on work–life conflict. The study did not find impacts on job satisfaction or life–work conflict. 

  • Productivity. The study found the intervention had no impact on employee productivity. 

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the mindfulness training intervention, and not to other factors.  

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2021