Previous studies have supported the idea that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) could reduce burnout but lack theory-based explorations of the underlying mechanisms. The integrative view of job demands-resources theory and self-regulation suggests that self-regulation is crucial for coping with job burnout. Based on this theoretical point of view, the present research investigated the effect of MBIs on burnout and the potential mediation between burnout and specific self-regulation traits, including mindfulness, self-compassion, and self-control.
Study 1 (N = 342; 19.9% managers and 19.9% technologists) collected cross-sectional data utilizing network analysis to explore the complex relations between self-regulation and burnout. Study 2 (N = 156; 30.8% teachers) conducted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effect of mindfulness-based positive psychology (MBPP) on burnout and the mediating role of the three self-regulation components.
(1) Self-compassion was more related to initiatory than inhibitory self-control; (2) acting with awareness, self-compassion, and inhibitory and initiatory self-control played important roles in the self-regulation and burnout network; (3) MBPP could significantly improve mindfulness, self-control, and self-compassion while protecting against burnout; and (4) acting with awareness mediated the effect of inhibitory self-control on depersonalization.
MBPP has the potential to protect against burnout. Self-regulation mediated the intervention effect on burnout, which supported the integrative view on burnout in MBIs. The findings also supported the necessity to differentiate subcomponents of self-compassion and self-control and suggested a new mechanism by which self-control could benefit the application of mindfulness.