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The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that mindfulness would be related to reduced reactivity to daily stress in urban firefighters.
Participants were 78 members from an urban fire department who completed an initial questionnaire and a 21-day daily diary. Mindfulness was assessed at baseline using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale. The daily diary included measures of stress (total stress, work stress, partner stress) and measures of negative affect, positive affect, and loneliness. Multilevel analyses adjusting for the dependent variable on the previous day were used to test the hypotheses.
Higher daily total, partner, and work stress were associated with increased negative affect. Higher daily, total, and partner stress were associated with increased loneliness and decreased positive affect. Mindfulness appeared to buffer against stress reactivity as higher baseline mindfulness was related to (a) less negative affect on days of greater total stress, (b) more positive affect on days of greater total, work, and partner stress, and (c) less loneliness on days of greater total, work, and partner stress.
Mindfulness may improve the health and wellbeing of urban firefighters by reducing reactivity to daily stress, especially in relation to positive affect and loneliness. Future research should determine whether mindfulness-based interventions may be enhanced by focusing more closely on reducing reactivity to stress, especially in fire service populations.
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- The Role of Mindfulness in Reactivity to Daily Stress in Urban Firefighters
Bruce W. Smith
C. Graham Ford
Laurie E. Steffen
- Springer US