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What Do We Really Know About the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Training in the Workplace?

  • Tammy D. Allen (a1), Lillian T. Eby (a2), Kate M. Conley (a2), Rachel L. Williamson (a2), Victor S. Mancini (a1) and Melissa E. Mitchell (a2)...


In an attempt to distill what we know about the effects of workplace mindfulness-based training, Hyland, Lee, and Mills (2015) cast a wide net with regard to the array of studies included in their review. For example, they include studies that investigate the benefits associated with workplace mindfulness training (e.g., Wolever et al., 2012) as well as training conducted for patients within primary care settings (e.g., Allen, Bromley, Kuyken, & Sonnenberg, 2009). In addition, their review includes studies based on self-reports of individual differences in mindfulness traits/skills (e.g., Hafenbrack, Kinias, & Barsade, 2014). Reviewing a broad cross-section of research is helpful to illustrate the wide-ranging nature of mindfulness research but also has the potential to obfuscate what we know about mindfulness as it pertains to workers and workplaces.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tammy D. Allen, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620. E-mail:


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References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the review.
*Aggs, C., & Bambling, M. (2010). Teaching mindfulness to psychotherapists in clinical practice: The Mindful Therapy Programme. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 10 (4), 278286. doi:10.1080/14733145.2010.485690
*Aikens, K. A., Astin, J., Pelletier, K. R., Levanovich, K., Baase, C. M., Park, Y. Y., & Bodnar, C. M. (2014). Mindfulness goes to work: Impact of an online workplace intervention. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine/American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56 (7), 721731. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000209
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*Baccarani, C., Mascherpa, V., & Minozzo, M. (2013). Zen and well-being at the workplace. TQM Journal, 25 (6), 606624. doi:10.1108/TQM-07-2013-0077
*Brooker, J., Julian, J., Webber, L., Chan, J., Shawyer, F., & Meadows, G. (2013). Evaluation of an occupational mindfulness program for staff employed in the disability sector in Australia. Mindfulness, 4 (2), 122136. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0112-7
*Brooker, J. E., Webber, L., Julian, J., Shawyer, F., Graham, A. L., Chan, J., & Meadows, G. (2014). Mindfulness-based training shows promise in assisting staff to reduce their use of restrictive interventions in residential services. Mindfulness, 5 (5), 598603. doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0306-2
*Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., . . . Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65 (4), 564570. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000077505.67574.e3
*Flaxman, P. E., & Bond, F. W. (2010). Worksite stress management training: Moderated effects and clinical significance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15 (4), 347358. doi:10.1037/a0020522
*Foureur, M., Besley, K., Burton, G., Yu, N., & Crisp, J. (2013). Enhancing the resilience of nurses and midwives: Pilot of a mindfulness-based program for increased health, sense of coherence and decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Contemporary Nurse, 45, 114125.
*Galantino, M. L., Baime, M., Maguire, M., Szapary, P. O., & Farrar, J. T. (2005). Association of psychological and physiological measures of stress in health-care professionals during an 8-week mindfulness meditation program: Mindfulness in practice. Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 21 (4), 255261.
*Geary, C., & Rosenthal, S. L. (2011). Sustained impact of MBSR on stress, well-being, and daily spiritual experiences for 1 year in academic health care employees. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, 17 (10), 939944. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0335
*Grégoire, S., & Lachance, L. (2015). Evaluation of a brief mindfulness-based intervention to reduce psychological distress in the workplace. Mindfulness, 6, 836847. doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0328-9
Hafenbrack, A. C., Kinias, Z., & Barsade, S. G. (2014). Debiasing the mind through meditation: Mindfulness and the sunk-cost bias. Psychological Science, 25, 369376.
*Hallman, I. S., O'Connor, N., Hasenau, S., & Brady, S. (2014). Improving the culture of safety on a high-acuity inpatient child/adolescent psychiatric unit by mindfulness-based stress reduction training of staff. Journal of Child Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 27 (4), 183189. doi:10.1111/jcap.12091
*Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J. E. M., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. B. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98 (2), 310–133. doi:10.1037/a0031313
*Hülsheger, U. R., Feinholdt, A., & Nübold, A. (2015). A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 88, 464489. doi:10.1111/joop.12115
Hyland, P. K., Lee, R. A., & Mills, M. J. (2015). Mindfulness at work: A new approach to improving individual and organizational performance. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 8 (4), 576602.
*Jha, A. P., Stanley, E. A., Kiyonaga, A., Wong, L., & Gelfand, L. (2010). Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Emotion, 10 (1), 5464. doi:10.1037/a0018438
*Johnson, D. C., Thom, N. J., Stanley, E. A., Haase, L., Simmons, A. N., Shih, P.-a. B., . . . Paulus, M. P. (2014). Modifying resilience mechanisms in at-risk individuals: A controlled study of mindfulness training in Marines preparing for deployment. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 171 (8), 844853. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13040502
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*Leroy, H., Anseel, F., Dimitrova, N. G.,& Sels, L. (2013). Mindfulness, authentic functioning, and work engagement: A growth modeling approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 82 (3), 238247. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2013.01.012
*Malarkey, W. B., Jarjoura, D., & Klatt, M. (2013). Workplace based mindfulness practice and inflammation: A randomized trial. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 27 (1), 145154. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.009
*Manotas, M., Segura, C., Eraso, M., Oggins, J., & McGovern, K. (2014). Association of brief mindfulness training with reductions in perceived stress and distress in Colombian health care professionals. International Journal of Stress Management, 21 (2), 207225. doi:10.1037/a0035150
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*Roeser, R. W., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Jha, A., Cullen, M., Wallace, L., Wilensky, R., . . . Harrison, J. (2013). Mindfulness training and reductions in teacher stress and burnout: Results from two randomized, waitlist-control field trials. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (3), 787804. doi:10.1037/a0032093
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*Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: Results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12 (2), 164176. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.12.2.164
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*van Berkel, J., Boot, C. R. L., Proper, K. I., Bongers, P. M., & van der Beek, A. J. (2014). Effectiveness of a worksite mindfulness-related multi-component health promotion intervention on work engagement and mental health: Results of a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One, 9 (1), 110. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084118
*Wolever, R. Q., Bobinet, K. J., McCabe, K., Mackenzie, E. R., Fekete, E., Kusnick, C. A., & Baime, M. (2012). Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17 (2), 246258. doi:10.1037/a0027278

What Do We Really Know About the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Training in the Workplace?

  • Tammy D. Allen (a1), Lillian T. Eby (a2), Kate M. Conley (a2), Rachel L. Williamson (a2), Victor S. Mancini (a1) and Melissa E. Mitchell (a2)...


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