Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

School

School of Medical & Health Sciences

First Advisor

Associate Professor Jacques Oosthuizen

Second Advisor

Owen Carter

Field of Research Code

1117

Abstract

Aim: The purpose of this study carried out in Perth, Western Australia was to examine the effect of mindfulness training on workers in a university setting, by assessing the impact of mindfulness training on their sense of wellbeing, happiness, positivity and level of engagement in their jobs.

Method: Participants (n = 54) were recruited through the Edith Cowan University staff Health and Wellness Program, Live Life Longer and randomly allocated into two groups of 27. Both groups were invited to take part in 6 weeks of mindfulness training with staggered starts, group 2 began once group 1 had completed the training. There were no exclusion criteria. The training was adapted from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, and was delivered for one hour each week. The program included a 4-hour retreat on the penultimate Saturday. Quantitative testing was carried out at six week intervals: (T1) at baseline before either group received training; (T2) after group 1 finished the training and group 2 was about to commence; (T3) immediately after group 2 had completed which was a 6 week follow-up for group 1; and (T4) 6 weeks later as a follow up for both groups.

Results: The program suffered from high drop-out, with less than half of the original cohort (n=25) participating in four or more sessions of the 6-week program. This is likely to have impacted upon the statistical power of the study and no statistically significant differences were observed between groups: Wellbeing (F (1) = 2.142, p = 0.157); Happiness (F (1) – 1.152, p = .294); Positivity (F (1) = .625 p = .437); Engagement (F (1) = 2.380, p = .137) and Mindfulness (F (1) = .790, p = .383).

Conclusion: This study did not show any significant differences in the variables of: wellbeing, happiness, positivity or engagement in work. However other studies have shown significant benefits for organisations and employees in mindfulness interventions in the workplace. A small sample size was a limitation of this study. To validate results and be able to generalise findings larger longitudinal studies should be carried out. Retention rate was an issue in this study and in future, strategies need to be employed to ensure sustainability of the training program and reduce attrition rate. Other modes of delivery of intervention such as using an online platform may increase participation rates. Being able to carry out mindfulness training at convenient times may be more attractive to employees

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