Are you in the right headspace? Using a mindfulness-based mobile application as a wellbeing intervention in the workplace

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Master of Science
University of Canterbury
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Robinson, Chelsea Marie

Burnout is one of the fundamental challenges of working life, and those working in jobs involving high levels of emotional labour, like community support work, are most susceptible to developing it. Burnout is an important issue because it not only negatively impacts employee physical and mental health, but also patient quality of care, and it contributes to staff absenteeism and high staff turnover. The aim of the current study was to explore the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based smartphone application called Headspace as a wellbeing intervention for support workers. The study used a longitudinal design and studied 12 people randomly allocated into either a treatment group (n = 8) or wait-list control group (n = 4) who also completed the intervention. For 30 days participants listened to daily 10-minute guided meditations which were downloaded onto their workplace-assigned smartphones, meaning they could listen to them at their own convenience, something essential due to the mobile nature of the job. The results suggest that mindfulness delivered through smartphones can reduce burnout, perceived stress, negative affect and increase mindfulness, employee resilience and positive affect in community support workers. There were no significant changes for compassion fatigue or self-compassion. The present study contributes to the limited research on mindfulness-based smartphone-delivered wellbeing initiatives and is the first to study community support workers whilst addressing implications and directions for future research.

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