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Journal of Wellness

Abstract

Background: Workplace mindfulness meditation programs are of great interest for improving employee well-being and job performance, fueled in part by the apparent effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as well as by the recent proliferation of mobile mindfulness applications (apps) that can be incorporated into a workplace setting. It is critical to examine the facilitators and barriers to engaging with app-delivered mindfulness in the workplace to understand how biological, psychological, and socio-demographic variables impact practice time.

Methods: Using a longitudinal and randomized controlled design, we explored facilitators of and barriers to practicing app-delivered mindfulness in the workplace among predominately non-white call center employees. Mindfulness engagement was operationalized as practice time during a prescriptive study period as well as during the entire 1-year duration of the app subscription. In addition, we made preliminary estimates of the impact of app-delivered mindfulness, compared to wait-list open relaxation, on job performance, negative symptoms, well-being, and social connectedness.

Results: Employee C-reactive protein levels were positively correlated with subsequent meditation practice time. Employees who reported wanting to use the app to manage stress were most likely to use it, and women practiced significantly more than men. No other psychological resources were significantly correlated with practice time. Employees randomized to mindfulness had a significant increase in self-reported mindfulness scores, but did not have significant improvements in any other psychological or performance domains.

Conclusion: Together these data expand what is known about engagement with, and impact of, mindfulness on a population that is under-represented in the research on mindfulness meditation.

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