Online mindfulness program decreases employee stress

Aikens, K. A., et al. (2014). Mindfulness Goes to Work: Impact of an Online Workplace Intervention. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(7), 721-731.

stress-at-workAbstract. The objective of this study was to determine whether a mindfulness program, created for the workplace, was both practical and efficacious in decreasing employee stress while enhancing resiliency and well-being.

Participants (89) recruited from The Dow Chemical Company were selected and randomly assigned to an online mindfulness intervention (n = 44) or wait-list control (n = 45). The results indicated that the mindfulness intervention group had significant decreases in perceived stress as well as increased mindfulness, resiliency, and vigor. This intervention seems to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency, vigor, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.

Web-based mindfulness course for stress, anxiety and depression

Krusche, A., Cyhlarova, E., & Williams, J. M. G. (2013). Mindfulness online: an evaluation of the feasibility of a web-based mindfulness course for stress, anxiety and depression. BMJ Open, 3(11), e003498. Full text.

From the Abstract: Face-to-face mindfulness interventions have been shown to significantly decrease perceived stress, anxiety and depression and research is beginning to show similar benefits for such courses delivered via the internet. We investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of an online mindfulness course for perceived stress, anxiety and depression.

Perceived stress, anxiety and depression significantly decreased at course completion and further decreased at 1 month follow-up, with effect sizes comparable to those found with face-to-face and other online mindfulness courses and to other types of intervention, such as cognitive behavioural therapy for stress. The amount of meditation practice reported did affect outcome when controlling for baseline severity.

The online mindfulness course appears to be an acceptable, accessible intervention which reduces stress, anxiety and depression. However, there is no control comparison and future research is required to assess the effects of the course for different samples.

Online mindfulness course can significantly decrease perceived stress

Krusche, A., Cyhlarova, E., King, S., & Williams, J. M. G. (2012). Mindfulness online: a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of a web-based mindfulness course and the impact on stress. BMJ open, 2(3). Full text.

Article summary

  • Stress maintained over time can cause a number of negative effects, both physically and psychologically.
  • Mindfulness interventions have been shown to have significant beneficial effects to health including significantly decreasing stress.
  • Research question: is an online mindfulness course a feasible way to provide an intervention and decrease perceived stress?
Key messages

  • An online mindfulness course can significantly decrease perceived stress.
  • The decrease in stress is maintained at 1 month follow-up and is comparable to other interventions.
  • The online mindfulness course is an accessible and acceptable way for people to receive an intervention that can offer a way to decrease levels of perceived stress.
Strengths and limitations of this study

  • The sample consisted of people who had signed up to and paid for the online course that limits the extent to which we can extrapolate to those who might use it because referred by others (such as a health professional).
  • The effect of practice on mindfulness was not examined, so it is unclear what mediates the change in perceived stress. Other factors contributing to a decrease in stress were not included in this preliminary evaluation.

Improvements of stress symptoms using online format

Morledge, T. J., et al.  (2013). Feasibility of an Online Mindfulness Program for Stress Management—A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 1-12. Full text.

Stress is a major public health issue, and calls have been made for better access to stress management programs to prevent and manage chronic diseases. Stress management programs may be prohibitively expensive or have limited access.

This study aims to determine feasibility of an 8-week Internet-based stress management program (ISM) based on mindfulness principles in reducing stress in a 12-week, parallel, randomized, controlled trial. Participants were randomly allocated to ISM, ISM plus online message board (ISM+), or control groups. Perceived stress, mindfulness, self-transcendence, psychological well-being, vitality, and quality of life were measured at baseline, week 8, and week 12 using standard validated questionnaires.

ISM and ISM+ groups demonstrated statistically significant improvements compared with control on all measures except vitality and physical health. The ISM program effectively and sustainably reduced measures of stress. The magnitude of improvement is comparable to traditional mindfulness programs, although fewer participants were engaged. This feasibility study provides strong support for online stress management programs, which increase access at a fraction of cost of traditional programs.

Online mindfulness curriculum

Reid, D.T. (2013). Teaching mindfulness to occupational therapy students: Pilot evaluation of an online curriculum. [Abstract]. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80(1), 142-48.

Background. How mindfulness can be learned by occupational therapy students to manage their own self-care processes has not been fully examined as yet.

Purpose. This article describes an online curriculum approach for teaching a general introductory mindfulness course and examines outcomes with master’s entry-level occupational therapy students.

Method. Fifteen students participated in an 8-week online mindfulness curriculum and completed a pre- and post-training survey. The Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS) was used to measure mindfulness. Demographic, MAAS-scored mindfulness, and clinical utility data were collected.

Results. Results showed a statistically significant change in MAAS mindfulness scores from the program start to end. Informal practice exercises and guided meditations were perceived by participants as being more helpful ways for developing an understanding and approach to mindfulness than were readings about mindfulness.

Implications. This study suggests that mindfulness can be taught using an online approach.